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COVID‐19 and the relationships and involvement of nonresident fathers

APA Citation:

Adamsons, K. (2022). COVID-19 and the relationships and involvement of nonresident fathers. Family Relations, 71(3), 827-848. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12663

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study explored how father involvement (e.g., talking with children about their day, watching TV together) and father-child relationship quality among civilian, nonresidential fathers (N = 373) changed from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 2020). Fathers reported on their own and their child's demographics (e.g., child age, gender), fathers' coparenting relationship (i.e., support and difficulties), self-efficacy (i.e., ability to cope with everyday challenges), and mental health symptoms (i.e., anxiety and depressive symptoms), as well as father involvement and father-child relationship quality before and during the pandemic. Overall, father involvement and father-child relationship quality among nonresidential fathers declined from before to during the pandemic.


Mental health

Subject Affiliation:



Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Quantitative Study


Adamsons, Kari


Objective Background Method Results Conclusion and Implications To support nonresident fathers in maintaining involvement and relationships with their children during the COVID‐19 pandemic, we must understand how such fathers have been impacted thus far by the pandemic.All families have been impacted by the pandemic, but fathers who do not reside with their children are particularly likely to be negatively impacted. Social distancing, restrictions on travel, job loss/economic downturn, family court closures, and numerous other effects of the COVID‐19 crisis impact the ability of nonresident fathers to maintain relationships and involvement with their children.The current study analyzed retrospective data from 373 nonresident U.S. fathers to assess perceived parenting and coparenting changes during the pandemic, as well as whether coparenting relationships and mental health were associated with their involvement and relationships with their children.On average, fathers' involvement, father–child relationship quality, and coparenting support declined, but wide variability also existed, with a substantial minority of fathers reporting increased involvement. Coparenting support was positively associated with current levels of involvement and relationship quality as well as changes to both since the pandemic, but mental health was inconsistently associated with outcomes.To keep these average declines from becoming permanent, future research should investigate what factors foster higher involvement and improved relationships. Practitioners should offer additional support to nonresident fathers to promote their involvement and relationships in ways compatible with evolving restrictions.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

John Wiley & Sons

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Connecticut, KA


covid-19, fatherhood, nonresident fathers

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  August 2022

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