In this report we describe the state of current research on father involvement and point to ways in which research findings might inform the economic and public policies that affect fathers. We do not intend an extensive review of the literature (see Lamb, 1997); rather, our goal is to integrate research and policies on father involvement into a framework that emphasizes the synergistic relationship between the two. A central aim of this report is to highlight limitations of past research and policies on father involvement and to raise questions that we hope will guide future efforts in this area. We begin the report with a discussion of recent economic, political, and social trends and events that have led to a growing interest in the father's role in the family. We review research on (1) the social roles served by fathers, (2) the different types of father involvement, (3) the child outcomes affected, (4) the direct and indirect pathways through which father involvement influences children's development, and (5) the factors that predict father involvement. We examine how public policies have affected father involvement to date and we discuss the current state of research and policies on fatherhood. We conclude with a set of recommendations for future research and policy initiatives that will be critical to advancing both theory and practice in this area. (Author abstract)
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