Fathering with Multiple Partners Associated with Poor Outcomes in Early Childhood

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Child Trends

Children whose fathers have offspring with multiple partners experience increased behavioral problems and poorer physical health early in life, according to this Child Trends study published in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

This new study is based on data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, a longitudinal study of  births occurring between 1998 and 2000 in cities with more than 200,000 residents. The Child Trends study found that a father's depression symptoms partially explained the connection between "multiple partner fertility" and behavioral problems.  A child's physical health status is only indirectly affected through the father's engagement with his child, the study states.

The study suggests that these effects may result from the parents' inabilities to provide supportive, involved parenting due to the father's need to distribute his financial assets and social investments among multiple households. Child Trends: (202) 572-6000. Fee for study: $41.72. www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpl/jomf/2009/00000071/00000003/art00012;jsessionid=2d7m5oa33mjee.alexandra.