Assessing the Myth of Familial AWOL: Kin Support among Euro and African American Men

Natalia Sarkisian, University of Massachusetts

Disorganization theories postulate that African American men have in many ways abandoned their familial roles. Using the NSFH data, the paper tests this hypothesis by examining African American men's extended family involvement relative to Euro American men. Overall, the hypothesis of African American men's familial disengagement is refuted by the data. The paper shows that African American men are astonishingly similar to Euro American men in their kin support, even though they differ on a number of socioeconomic and cultural predictors of kin support. This paradoxical outcome is mostly due to the fact that the effects of different groups of predictors cancel each other out as far as race differences are concerned: while African American men's economic disadvantage hinders their kin support, their cultural values and extended family structures tend to bring their involvement with kin to the levels of the more economically advantaged Euro American men.

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Presented in Session 91: Race, Ethnicity, and the Family