Faculty Publications

Closeness and Direct Engagement: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis of Non-Resident Father Involvement

Document Type



confirmatory factory analysis, father involvement, father–child closeness, non-resident father

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Family Issues


Measures of father involvement have predominantly comprised quantitative/frequency measures of direct engagement activities with children. Such measures tend to show that non-resident fathers are less involved than resident fathers and limit our understanding of non-resident fathering. This study’s purpose was to identify a construct of non-resident fathering that included an affective dimension, father–child closeness, among racially/ethnically diverse fathers and their nine-year-old children (N = 1267). A confirmatory factor analysis using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study was conducted using father- and mother-reports of paternal direct engagement and child reports of father–child closeness. Results indicated a good model fit and that father–child closeness and direct engagement were appropriate indicators of non-resident father involvement. Results suggest that researchers should consider including both affective and frequency measures when studying father involvement, and practitioners should attend to the potential value of promoting father–child closeness among racially/ethnically diverse, low-income fathers.


Department of Social Work

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version