November 16, 2023 | News | Award

Best Research Article Award for Nathan Robbins

Nathan Robbins won the Best research Article Award. © MPIDR/Schulz

Nathan Robbins of the Research Group Gender Inequality and Fertility is awarded the Best Research Article Award by the National Council on Family Relations and its Men in Families Focus Group. Nathan received the award for his paper, "Child support debt and the well-being of disadvantaged fathers of color," which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The Men in Families Best Research Article Award is presented to the author of the best research article on men in families in the year preceding the award. The award is intended to recognize peer-reviewed publications on men in families that are innovative and advance the field of research.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award from the Men in Families focus group at NCFR, and am grateful for the contribution of my co-authors in producing this research. There is a great need for continued research on the policies that hinder and help men to be involved with their families and I am excited to be a part of it,” says Nathan Robbins. 

In the winning paper, Nathan and his co-authors examine whether child support debt nine years after the child's birth is associated with poor physical health, depression, and material hardship among fathers.  They studied a sample of predominantly low-income fathers of color. From the data, the researchers found that disadvantaged fathers with child support arrears were significantly worse off physically, mentally, and economically than fathers without arrears. The study's findings add to a growing body of research documenting the harmful effects of child support debt.

“I am absolutely delighted about this recognition of Nathan’s work. His expertise on the opportunities and constraints in contemporary fathers’ involvement with their children and within their families is a very valuable contribution to one of the key objectives of the Max Planck Research Group Gender Inequality and Fertility , that is integrating men’s perspective into the intersectional study of gender norms, inequalities, and fertility,” adds Nicole Hiekel, head of the research group. 


Nathan L. Robbins, Maureen R. Waller, Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Daniel P. Miller: Child support debt and the well-being of disadvantaged fathers of color in Journal of Marriage and Family. DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12841


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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.