Stepfather Exits and Child Behavior Problems Public

This study examines the influence of stepfather exits on children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors using stepfather engagement and nonresident biological father contact frequency as moderators. Data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (FFCWS) (n = 245) and Hierarchical multiple regression analyses with moderation were used in this study. Internalizing and externalizing behaviors were measured using data from the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL), and were controlled for at year 3 to measure children’s behavioral changes between years 3 and 5. Results indicated that stepfather exits are not associated with children’s internalizing or externalizing behavioral outcomes at year 5, and that stepfather engagement and biological father contact did not moderate the strength of this association. Future research should examine the interaction between stepfather exits and child behavior problems using a sample of children who have spent more time with their stepfathers before an exit in terms of relationship duration and should also control for mothers’ engagement.


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