Six degrees of separation: how are you connected?

Everyone is aware of the concept of six degrees of separation. It’s the foundation of social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

But have you ever noticed how many other things in life are closely linked? I mean, who knew there was a connection between clean homes and fit bodies?! Turns out people with clean houses are more physically active, say Indiana University researchers who studied some St. Louis residents.

Or how about this? There’s a strong link between parents’ ability to cooperate and a father’s level of involvement with his children. That’s right; when mom and dad get along, dad’s more likely to be an active parent.

But for parents not living together, there is an even stronger link! Since the custodial parent (usually mom) often controls the other parent’s access to the children, conflict between parents often leads to fathers to withdraw.

This is interesting because responsible fatherhood programs working only with noncustodial fathers (and not with both parents like Parents as Teachers does) are often successful in getting dads to ante up child support, but not so successful in getting them engaged with their kids. This study suggests that fatherhood and couple relationships might be more connected than we thought!