Perceived Fatherhood Roles and Parenting Behaviors Among African American Teen Fathers

Paschal, A. M.,
Lewis-Moss, R. K.,
Hsiao, T.
Year Published: 2010
Journal Article
SAGE Publications
Journal of Adolescent Research, Volume 26 Number 1, January 2011
University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City

Few studies have examined the perceptions and lived experiences of African American teen fathers, say these authors. In this study, they explored how African American teen fathers define and perform the father role. In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 African American fathers, 14 to 19 years old. Three overlapping themes emerged from the data: provider role, nurturer role, and autonomous fathers. The majority of the sample (53 percent) defined fatherhood primarily in economic and provider terms. Twenty-seven percent said that being emotionally involved, physically present, and/or nurturing were the principle attributes that made good fathers. Twenty percent expressed opposition to the idea of fatherhood altogether. Despite being economically poor, many of the teen fathers provided or attempted to provide some kind of support to the mothers of their children. For some individuals, there was dissonance between their views and intentions and actual fathering behaviors. Those who reported a loving relationship with their child's mother were generally more likely to behave in accordance with their idealized father roles.

Correspondence to Angelia M. Paschal, Health and Kinesiology Department, Mississippi University for Women, 1100 College St, Columbus, MS 39701-580; E-mail:; Website:
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