Although engagement measures exist for resident fathers, they have not been validated for nonresident fathers. Without valid and reliable measures, research on and programs for these fathers are limited in their ability to capture this salient dimension of fathering. From a focus group of 71 nonresident biological fathers, father–child engagement scales were created. Separate scales were created for fathers of children aged 0 to 1 years, 1 to 5 years, 6 to 11 years, and 12 to 18 years. Scales were administered to 542 nonresident (primarily low income) fathers to test reliability and convergent and predictive validity. Analyses identified a “caregiving play” domain of engagement across all age groups. For fathers of children 0 to 1 years, a “cognitive stimulation” domain emerged. For all age groups, a “support” domain emerged. All measures had acceptable reliability and (except in 1 instance) were related to at least 1 validity construct. Measures were nonequivalent across groups except for support in 2 groups. Measures of nonresident father engagement had good reliability and validity. Further, with a minimal number of items, the scales are relatively easy and cost‐effective to administer. With reliable and valid measures of engagement, those researching or intervening with nonresident fathers can more accurately capture this highly relevant construct.
Dyer, W. J., Kauffman, R., Fagan, J., Pearson, J., & Cabrera, N. (2018). Measures of father engagement for nonresident fathers. Family Relations, 67(3), 381-398. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12317