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Married Men Make Better Fathers

Matrimony means good parenting, even with stepkids

FRIDAY, Feb. 21, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- It's marriage, not biology, that makes the man when it comes to being a good father.

Married stepfathers are equally good at fathering both their biological children and stepchildren who live with them, says a University of Maryland study.

In contrast, the study found that unmarried men in a cohabitation setting who are the biological fathers of the children living in the household don't put in as much time with the children and don't show as much emotional warmth as married biological fathers.

The study looked in detail at two-parent blended families where the men were biological fathers to some children and stepfathers to other children. It included black, Hispanic and white men of all income levels.

The study found children spend as much time with married stepfathers as with married biological fathers. Stepfathers spend an average of 12 hours a week engaged with their stepchildren and do nine of 13 different types of activities with them in a month.

Those activities include reading a book, doing laundry, playing video games or sports.

The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about good fathering.

SOURCE: University of Maryland, news release, February 2003
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