He Said, She Said: Comparing Mother and Father Reports of Father Involvement

Authors


The University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the Population Research Center (kmikelson@mail.utexas.edu).

Abstract

This study compares mother and father reports of fathers’ involvement, including frequency of involvement and emotional involvement, with their child and examines demographic and social factors that predict the discrepancy in father and mother reports. Using matched pairs of parents (n = 2,058) from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing data, this study finds that father and mother reports of fathers’ involvement differ significantly. For example, fathers report spending 17.6% more time engaged in 11 activities with their young children than mothers report. How parental disagreement is measured yields starkly different results given the underlying distribution of these data. The paper also provides insight into what data issues should concern researchers studying fathers’ involvement and contributes to the growing literature on fathers’ involvement.

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