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Fagan and Cabrera (2012) – Longitudinal and Reciprocal Associations between Coparenting Conflict and Father Engagement


The major goal of the present study was to examine the reciprocal and longitudinal associations between coparenting conflict and father engagement with children during the early childhood years. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey—Birth Cohort (N = 3600), the findings supported the hypothesis that father engagement at 9 months has a significant effect on coparenting conflict at 24 and 48 months, but there was limited support for the hypothesis that early coparenting conflict has an effect on later engagement. The direct and indirect findings also suggest that fathers’ engagement with young children has different longitudinal effects on coparenting conflict depending on the type of activity in which fathers are engaged. Whereas fathers’ physical care at 9 months was associated with increased levels of later coparenting conflict, fathers’ cognitive stimulation at 9 months was associated with lower levels of later coparenting conflict. Implications for programs for fathers and families are discussed.


Fagan, Jay, and Natasha J. Cabrera2012. “Longitudinal and Reciprocal Associations between Coparenting Conflict and Father Engagement.” Journal of Family Psychology 26(6):1004–11. doi:10.1037/a0029998.




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