After a long period of scholarly neglect, social scientists are finally beginning to pay attention to the influence of fathers on children. This new tide of interest in the role of fathers has been so strong that the standard cliche that fathers have been slighted in studies of family behavior hardly applies any longer. Recent research on teenage parenthood represents a particularly good example of the growing interest in the extent and consequences of male involvement. Years ago Clark Vincent (1961), in a classic study of unmarried mothers, took note of the social invisibility of unmarried fathers. Vincent traced the inattention to the fathers to a number of dIfferent sources. The principal one, he claimed, could be traced to the patriarchal assumption in American culture that females must be held primarily accountable for sexual transgressions: The lack of research on unmarried fathers may be very inconsistent with the fact that they represent one-half the illicit-conception equation, but is quite consistent with, and can be understood within the context of, other social practices and attitudes (p. 5). For nearly a quarter of a century Vincent's observation was occasionally registered, but left unchallenged. Not until the late 1970s did researchers begin to take full cognizance of the missing male partner of teenage parents. In the past five years a veritable outpouring of studies has appeared on teenage fatherhood and the male partners of teenage mothers. Several recent books on this topic have culled the diverse and scattered literature on this subject (see Elster and Lamb 1986; Robinson 1988). And an excellent review by Parke and Neville (1987), commissioned by the Panel on Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing, has organized and synthesized the burgeoning research on teenage fatherhood. Not surprisingly, large gaps remain in our understanding of how males contribute to the process of early family fonnation and of the consequences of young fathers' involvement for the economic and psychological well-being of their offspring. As Parke and Neville note, almost all research on these critical issues is confined to the transition to parenthood and the period immediately following childbirth. Next to nothing is known about patterns of support and participation by fathers beyond infancy into later childhood and adolescence. This void in our information about the continuing role of fathers means that we are largely ignorant of the long-term consequences of paternal involvement for the development of children and young adults. There are, however, studies on the effect of fathers' participation after marital disruption has occurred. Many researchers have assumed that greater support from nonresidential fathers would reduce the ill effects of divorce (Chase-Lansdale and Hetherington 1989; Emery 1988; Weiss 1975). A few small-scale studies have produced findings that are consistent with that assumption (Hetherington, Cox, and Cox 1978; Hess and Camara 1979; Wallerstein and Kelly 1980). However, results obtained from a nationally representative sample of children in maritally disrupted families found that nonresidential fathers' involvement was unrelated to a variety of child outcomes (Furstenberg, Morgan, and Allison 1987). Children who had more frequent contact with their fathers and had closer relations were not performing better socially or emotionally in mid-adolescence. What might explain the perplexing finding that fathers' involvement does not matter more to the well-being of children? First, the level of paternal involvement by fathers living outside the home could be too low to have much impact on the child. Even children with relatively regular relations might experience relative deprivation and be sensitive to what is lacking in their relationship with their fathers. Second, the effects of participation might vary widely, depending on the way that the fathers' attention was received by the residential parents. If mothers were unwelcoming or hostile to high levels of involvement, any positive impact might be negated. More involved fathers could pose a threat to the authority of residential parent surrogates (i.e., stepparents, boyfriends, uncles, and the like), precipitating conflict and competition. Finally, it is conceivable that fathers generally matter less than we might imagine. If relations with mothers (or mother surrogates) are positive, the added benefit of a good relationship with a father may not be very significant. It is 4ifficult to ascertain whether these possibilities apply more broadly to the situation of adolescent parents and their partners. We set them forth only as a reminder that the seemingly obvious benefits for children of paternal participation in disrupted (or even intact) families cannot be assumed without stronger evidence than has been produced to date. This chapter examines the consequences of paternal involvement for children's well-being in families formed by adolescent blacks in an effort to advance our knowledge about the impact of fathers' involvement on children's well-being in a population at great risk of long-term disadvantage. This research is one of the few to consider the effects of paternal involvement on children in later adolescence and early adulthood. l'hrough the use of a unique longitudinal data set, we were able to examine the extent and quality of male involvement in the lives of children of teenage mothers for 20 years and to analyze the effect of that involvement on children's development and well-being as they became young adults. C~an we demonstrate that participation by nonresidential fathers (both in and outside the home) affects the well-being of children in later life?.