Stereotype Awareness and Black Fathers’ Paternal Engagement: At the Nexus of Racial and Fathering Identities

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Psychology of Men and Masculinities


Social experiences and interactions can influence fathering role identities and motivate parenting behaviors. The current investigation seeks to better understand how awareness of societal and media stereotypes shape identity beliefs about Black fathers and paternal engagement, with an emphasis on multidimensional components of Black fathering identity (e.g., personally held beliefs about Black fathers; assessments of societal views about Black fathers). Also, we examine whether these associations vary by child gender, fathers’ residential, and partner status. A sample of 467 Black fathers (Mage = 38.39; SD = 9.86) with children between the ages of 8 and 17 years of age (M = 12.01; SD = 2.84) completed a survey via a Qualtrics Panel study. Approximately 58% of the sample was currently married. Forty-one percent of fathers reported non-residential status. Structural equation model analyses indicated that, while stereotype awareness about Black fathers was unrelated to paternal engagement, there was a significant indirect effect via Black fathers’ identity beliefs. Additionally, analyses provided some support that the examined associations varied by partner status and child gender. Findings suggest that Black fathers’ awareness of stereotypes may have direct and indirect implications for paternal engagement and that demographic context may shape the direction and strength of these associations.


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