The Relationship Contexts of Young Disadvantaged Men

Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Recent improvements in data collection offer unprecedented insight into the romantic partnerships of disadvantaged men, revealing higher levels of instability, complexity, and commitment than previously understood. Young disadvantaged men are often involved in casual romantic relationships that result in pregnancy. When this occurs, most men remain involved with the mother, are optimistic about the future of their relationships, and are committed to their children. Economic disadvantage, incarceration, conflict, and mistrust undermine the stability of these relationships, however, and most end within several years after the birth. New romantic relationships begin shortly thereafter, creating complex family structures. We know less about the patterns of interaction between couples that produce unstable partnerships or about the nature of romantic relationships that do not involve children. With our growing understanding of the presence of fathers in nonmarital households, policy-makers must adapt their policies to support, rather than undermine, these fragile unions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-94
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • family instability
  • fatherhood
  • nonmarital childbearing
  • poverty
  • relationship quality


Dive into the research topics of 'The Relationship Contexts of Young Disadvantaged Men'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this