Paternity leave-taking is believed to benefit children by encouraging father-child bonding and enabling commitments to father engagement. Yet, no U.S. studies have directly focused on the associations between paternity leave-taking and children’s reports of father-child relationships. This study uses five waves of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to analyze the associations between paternity leave-taking and nine-year-old children’s reports of father-child relationships. We also assess whether these associations are mediated by father engagement, coparenting quality, parental relationship satisfaction, and father identities. Results indicate that leave-taking, and particularly taking two weeks or more of leave, is positively associated with children’s perceptions of father involvement, father-child closeness, and father-child communication. These associations are at least partially explained by father engagement, parental relationship satisfaction, and father identities. Overall, results highlight the linked lives of fathers and children and suggest that paternity leave-taking can lead to improved father-child relationships.
Presented in Session 181. Fathers and Families