The Psychological and Physical Well-Being of Involved, Low-Income Fathers

Letitia Kotila, Ohio State University

Fathers not only provide psychological benefits to children, but father involvement may also increase the psychological and physical health of fathers themselves (Eggebeen & Knoester, 2001). This paper builds upon previous efforts to examine the role of father involvement with regard to the psychological and physical health of fathers using a nationally representative sample of children born to low-income, unmarried mothers. Using an equivalent measurement of father involvement for resident and non-resident fathers and fixed-effects regression, we find that father involvement is associated with decreases in depressive symptoms, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, and clinical depression, and increases in self-rated physical health. These findings were not contingent upon the father's resident status with the child. Our findings underscore the importance of equivalent measurements of father involvement for all fathers and extends our understanding of the importance of father involvement for the well-being of men.

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Presented in Session 96: Child Health