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CDC Measures Fathers' Involvement With Their Children

Fathers living with their children have greater participation in their lives

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Fathers who live with their children participate in their children's lives to a greater extent than fathers who do not live with their children, according to research published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dec. 20 National Health Statistics Reports.

Jo Jones, Ph.D., and William D. Mosher, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md., analyzed data from the 2006 to 2010 National Survey of Family Growth, which interviewed men 15 to 44 years of age. Father involvement was based on responses from 2,200 fathers of children under 5 years old (1,790 living with their children and 410 living apart from their children) and 3,166 fathers of children 5 to 18 years old (2,011 living with their children and 1,075 living apart from their children).

For fathers of children under 5 years old, the researchers found that a greater percentage of fathers who lived with their children ate meals with them (96 versus 30 percent); played with them (98 versus 39 percent); bathed, diapered, or dressed them (90 versus 31 percent); and read to them (60 versus 23 percent) at least a few times a week. For fathers living with school-aged children 5 to 18 years old, 93 percent ate meals with them, 92.5 percent talked with them about things that happened during the day, 63 percent helped with or checked homework, and 55 percent took them to and from activities.

"In general, fathers living with their children participated in their children's lives to a greater degree than fathers who live apart from their children," Jones and Mosher conclude. "Differences in fathers' involvement with their children were also found by the father's age, marital or cohabiting status, education, and Hispanic origin and race."

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