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December 2001

Good Dads: Religion, Civic Engagement, & Paternal Involvement in Low-Income Communitites

This study explores the relationship between menís involvement in religious and non-religious civic organizations and the extent to which they are actively engaged in their childrenís lives. Using data from the National Survey of Families and Households, the study shows that residential fathers who are involved in religious organizations or non-religious civic organizations are significantly more likely to have dinner with their children and to be involved in youth-related activities such as the Boy Scouts or sports teams. Moreover, the study finds that with respect to religion, this effect is not a function of a fatherís more generic integration into the social order; religious involvement has a positive effect in addition to other social involvement, and in spite of the absence of such involvement. These effects are particularly significant in the low-income communities where declines in civic engagement have been most profound.


Center for Civic Innovation.



Good Dads.


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