Racial and Ethnic Differences in Teenage Fathers’ Early Risk Factors and Socioeconomic Outcomes Later in Life

Luciana Assini-Meytin, Mary A. Garza, Kerry M. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Understanding racial differences in teenage fathers’ early risk factors and later outcomes is critical to inform programs for teenage fathers as our knowledge base on this population remains limited. Objective: The goal of this study was to assess how teen fathers’ characteristics, including family background, delinquency, living arrangements, socioeconomic resources, and arrests, vary over time by race and ethnicity. Method: We analyzed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data. The analytic sample consisted of self-identified African American, Latino, and White males who fathered a child before the age of 20 (n = 313). Data come from three time points: adolescence, transition to adulthood, and young adulthood. Results: Latino teen fathers came from families with lower educational attainment and greater reliance on public assistance. No statistically significant differences by race and ethnicity were found in parental involvement, school connectedness, marijuana use, and delinquency during adolescence. By their early 20s, a lower proportion of African American teen fathers were married compared to White and Latino teen fathers. By young adulthood, adjusted regression analyses showed that African American teen fathers were more likely to be arrested and earned a lower mean income than White teen fathers. Conclusions: Findings suggest that African American teen fathers, while no more disadvantaged or delinquent than the other two groups in their adolescence, experience greater accumulation of disadvantages over the life course. Intervention programs must consider the broader social and institutional context that may contribute to the disproportionate disadvantage among African American teen fathers in their young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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father
adulthood
adolescence
delinquency
ethnicity
life situation
longitudinal study
assistance
American
adolescent
income
regression
health
resources
school
experience

Keywords

  • Longitudinal analysis
  • Racial and ethnic differences
  • Teen fathers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this

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title = "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Teenage Fathers’ Early Risk Factors and Socioeconomic Outcomes Later in Life",
abstract = "Background: Understanding racial differences in teenage fathers’ early risk factors and later outcomes is critical to inform programs for teenage fathers as our knowledge base on this population remains limited. Objective: The goal of this study was to assess how teen fathers’ characteristics, including family background, delinquency, living arrangements, socioeconomic resources, and arrests, vary over time by race and ethnicity. Method: We analyzed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data. The analytic sample consisted of self-identified African American, Latino, and White males who fathered a child before the age of 20 (n = 313). Data come from three time points: adolescence, transition to adulthood, and young adulthood. Results: Latino teen fathers came from families with lower educational attainment and greater reliance on public assistance. No statistically significant differences by race and ethnicity were found in parental involvement, school connectedness, marijuana use, and delinquency during adolescence. By their early 20s, a lower proportion of African American teen fathers were married compared to White and Latino teen fathers. By young adulthood, adjusted regression analyses showed that African American teen fathers were more likely to be arrested and earned a lower mean income than White teen fathers. Conclusions: Findings suggest that African American teen fathers, while no more disadvantaged or delinquent than the other two groups in their adolescence, experience greater accumulation of disadvantages over the life course. Intervention programs must consider the broader social and institutional context that may contribute to the disproportionate disadvantage among African American teen fathers in their young adulthood.",
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AB - Background: Understanding racial differences in teenage fathers’ early risk factors and later outcomes is critical to inform programs for teenage fathers as our knowledge base on this population remains limited. Objective: The goal of this study was to assess how teen fathers’ characteristics, including family background, delinquency, living arrangements, socioeconomic resources, and arrests, vary over time by race and ethnicity. Method: We analyzed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data. The analytic sample consisted of self-identified African American, Latino, and White males who fathered a child before the age of 20 (n = 313). Data come from three time points: adolescence, transition to adulthood, and young adulthood. Results: Latino teen fathers came from families with lower educational attainment and greater reliance on public assistance. No statistically significant differences by race and ethnicity were found in parental involvement, school connectedness, marijuana use, and delinquency during adolescence. By their early 20s, a lower proportion of African American teen fathers were married compared to White and Latino teen fathers. By young adulthood, adjusted regression analyses showed that African American teen fathers were more likely to be arrested and earned a lower mean income than White teen fathers. Conclusions: Findings suggest that African American teen fathers, while no more disadvantaged or delinquent than the other two groups in their adolescence, experience greater accumulation of disadvantages over the life course. Intervention programs must consider the broader social and institutional context that may contribute to the disproportionate disadvantage among African American teen fathers in their young adulthood.

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