Stepfather Involvement and Stepfather-Child Relationship Quality: Race and Parental Marital Status as Moderators

J Marital Fam Ther. 2016 Oct;42(4):659-672. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12165. Epub 2016 May 10.


Stepparent-child relationship quality is linked to stepfamily stability and children's well-being. Yet, the literature offers an incomplete understanding of factors that promote high-quality stepparent-child relationships, especially among socio-demographically diverse stepfamilies. In this study, we explore the association between stepfather involvement and stepfather-child relationship quality among a racially diverse and predominately low-income sample of stepfamilies with preadolescent children. Using a subsample of 467 mother-stepfather families from year 9 of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, results indicate that stepfather involvement is positively associated with stepfather-child relationship quality. This association is statistically indistinguishable across racial groups, although the association is stronger among children in cohabiting stepfamilies compared to children in married stepfamilies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Rearing / ethnology*
  • Child Rearing / psychology
  • Father-Child Relations / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status*
  • Parenting / ethnology*
  • Parenting / psychology