Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 1118–1126 | Cite as

Hispanic Immigrant Father Involvement with Young Children in the United States: A Comparison with US-Born Hispanic and White non-Hispanic Fathers

  • Sylvia Guendelman
  • Juliet Nussbaum
  • Ann Soliday
  • Maureen Lahiff


Objectives Fathering is known to foster child development and health, yet evidence on Hispanic immigrant fathers’ involvement with their young children is sparse. This study assessed disparities in pregnancy intendedness and father involvement with children ages 0–4 among Hispanic immigrant co-resident fathers versus two reference groups: US-born Hispanic and US-born White fathers. We hypothesized that differentials in involvement were associated with socioeconomic and cultural factors. Methods Using 2011–2013 data from the National Survey of Family Growth (N = 598), we performed bivariate, logistic and linear regression analyses to assess disparities in pregnancy intendedness and five father involvement outcomes (physical care, warmth, outings, reading and discipline). The models controlled for socio-economic, structural, health and cultural covariates. Results Pregnancy intendedness did not differ significantly between Hispanic immigrant fathers and the two reference groups. Compared with US-born Hispanics, unadjusted models showed that immigrant fathers were less likely to engage in physical care, warmth and reading, (p ≤ 0.05) though the differences were attenuated when controlling for covariates. Hispanic immigrant fathers were less likely than US-born White fathers to engage in each of the father involvement outcomes (p ≤ 0.05), with the disparity in reading to their child persisting even after controlling for all covariates. Conclusions for Practice We found marked socio-economic and cultural differences between Hispanic immigrant and US-born Hispanic and White fathers which contribute to disparities in father involvement with their young children. Hispanic immigrant status is an important determinant of involved fathering and should be taken into account when planning public health policies and programs.


Father involvement Hispanic Immigrant Pregnancy intendedness 



This study was funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvia Guendelman
    • 1
  • Juliet Nussbaum
    • 1
  • Ann Soliday
    • 1
  • Maureen Lahiff
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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