Early Fatherhood Trajectories: A Latent Class Growth Analysis

Jacinda K. Dariotis, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Joseph H. Pleck, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Nan M. Astone, Johns Hopkins University

Past research suggests that young fatherhood results in men’s subsequent disadvantage. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 (NLSY79), we confirm this finding, but also establish that young fathers are a heterogeneous group with respect to economic and social outcomes in young and middle adulthood. Men who become fathers around age 24 (cohort average) are our comparison group rather than all men or all fathers. Distinguishing young fathers by participation in the other adult roles of spouse and worker and comparing them to average men we make three discoveries: (1) some young fathers are far more disadvantaged than others; (2) that, in contrast to women, the disadvantage associated with young parenthood increases with age for men; and (3) the relationship context and fulltime employment status surrounding a birth matter. With socio-demographic factors controlled, we find differences among men in terms of marital and fertility behaviors, income, educational attainment and incarceration.

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Presented in Session 22: Fertility Timing and Transitions