Father Involvement and Behavioral Outcomes Among Youth: Does Type of Father Involvement Matter?

Sarah Gold , Princeton University
Kathryn Edin, Princeton University
Tim Nelson, Princeton University

Internalizing, externalizing, and delinquent behaviors in adolescence can trigger a cascade of negative outcomes later in life. Fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives and close father-child ties may play a protective role against negative, and support positive, behaviors. Using six waves of the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being survey, a birth cohort study representative of urban births from 1998-2000, we examine (1) whether father involvement in middle childhood is associated with fewer problem behaviors at age 15 and (2) if the salience of father involvement differs depending on father presence in the home (i.e., married to or living with his child’s mother). We find protective associations between father involvement and adolescent behavioral outcomes, associations which persist among even those whose fathers were not present in the home. Policies that promote father involvement, rather than other options such as promoting marriage, may be more effective in reducing adolescent behavioral problems.

See paper

 Presented in Session 18. The Role of Father's on Child Well-being