Although adolescence has largely been conceptualized as an increased time of risk for many youth, this developmental period is also an opportunity to flourish and develop strengths. Few studies, however, have explored the role of paternal parenting practices in the promotion of positive developmental assets and healthy functioning in adolescence and across the transition to adulthood. Research has demonstrated the distinct ways in which father-specific parenting practices and associated behaviors contribute to the normative development and well-being of their children. Much of the research in this area has been limited by its relative inattention to father-specific parenting practices in African American families as well as how they can impact the normative development of their children. Furthermore, studies that identify the impact of demographic, contextual, and situational factors (e.g., adolescent gender;other-caregiver relationship, residential status) in understanding these parenting practices and behaviors are limited. Additionally, of the current existing studies with African American fathers, most have focused exclusively on infant and childhood populations. Thus, the extent to which these paternal parenting practices and behaviors influence the healthy development and functioning of African American adolescents and young adults remains an important empirical question. Using longitudinal (e.g., Markov chain analyses) and person-centered methodological approaches, this proposal will identify parenting profiles among African American fathers across several domains of parenting (e.g., supporti- veness;engagement;involvement;behavioral and psychological control). This investigation is a secondary analysis of African American adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY97), a multi-wave nationally representative study of children residing in the United States. The specific goals of this investigation include: 1) What are distinct father-specific parenting profiles among African American fathers of adolescents?;2) Are trajectories of these parenting profiles dynamic or continuous across the adolescent years?;3) How do demographic, situational and contextual factors (e.g., adolescent gender, other-caregiver relationships, residential status) impact membership to a specific father specific parenting profile and subsequent change over time?;and 4) How are parenting profiles and their change over time indirectly and directly related to positive youth development and healthy functioning (likelihood for engagement in risk behaviors) in adolescence and emerging adulthood? To answer the research questions of interest, latent profile analytic and regression methodological approaches will be utilized.
Although a range of factors may influence paternal parenting practices, fathers can have a long-term impact on the healthy development and functioning of their children. The central goal of this investigation is to explore how fathering-related practices impact African American youth's healthy development in adolescence and emerging adulthood across several domains of importance: psychological functioning;academic competence;educational attainment;character development;and engagement in risk behaviors. The results from this investigation will provide scientific information and aid in the development of prevention programming and policy focused on the healthy functioning of African American youth and ultimately impact adult health outcomes.