Journal of Family Issues
Much is known about how having a teenage mother influences children's outcomes, but the relationship between teenage fatherhood and children's health and development is less well documented. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, the authors investigated how teenage fathers matter for children. They expected teenage fathers' influence on children to differ from adult fathers' in three domains: the household context, the father' mother relationship, and the father-child relationship. Teenage fathers were less often married and more often cohabiting or nonresident, and their children experienced a variety of social disadvantages in their household contexts. The quality of the father-child relationship did not often differ between adolescent and adult fathers. Fathers' marital status and children's household contexts each fully explained the negative relationship between having a teen father and children's cognitive and behavior scores at age 2. These findings suggest that policy interventions could possibly reduce these children's developmental gaps in the critical preschool years. (Author abstract)
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