Does Dad matter? : The Role of Biological, Residential Father Involvement in Predicting Changes in Pre-adolescent Academic, Behavioral, and Social Development

Killos, Lydia F., Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Pianta, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Allen, Joseph, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Kingston, Paul, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Weinfield, Nancy
Wilson, Melvin, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Father involvement is often considered ancillary to maternal behaviors when predicting child outcomes. Although it is well documented that children with two parents living at home fare better than children of single parents in predictions of academic and social success, fathering behaviors are frequently overlooked when examining variance in children's achievement. The current study examined the associations between father involvement and child academic, behavioral, and social success in the pre-adolescent years of third through sixth grade. It was hypothesized that increased levels of positive father involvement, measured by both the quantity of time fathers spend with their children and by the quality of fathers' interactions with their children would predict improved child outcomes at third and fifth grades. Meaning, children of fathers with more positive and increased involvement would perform better on achievement tests of mathematics and reading, would be less likely to engage in internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, would receive higher social skills scores, would receive higher marks from their classroom teachers regarding a positive relationship with the child at third and fifth grades, and would receive higher friendship quality reports from a peer at fourth and sixth grades. Further, it was hypothesized that father involvement behaviors would remain significant in models controlling for parallel measures of maternal involvement behaviors at third and fifth grades. The data generally support these hypotheses, however quantity and quality of father involvement is not a significant predictor of child outcomes in each case. For example, positive father involvement behaviors do not significantly predict improvements in child academic achievement at either third or fifth grades, when iii controlling for children's prior achievement scores. However, father involvement is more consistently associated with child social outcomes, particularly with teacher and peer reports of a positive relationship with the study child at fifth and sixth grades, respectively. Although most of the associations with child outcomes are not strong, the significance of many father involvement variables in predicting child outcomes remains, even in models which include maternal involvement behaviors. Gender differences in the ways in which father involvement behaviors predicted child outcomes were evident. The potential contributions of this study, as well as implications for future research, are discussed.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF text

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: