Paternal Engagement and Responsibility in Low-Income Families: Longitudinal Links with Adolescent Well-Being

Rebekah Levine Coley, Boston College
Bethany Medeiros, Boston College

Longitudinal data from Welfare, Children and Families: A Three-City Study are used to assess links between paternal accessibility, responsibility, and emotional attachment and adolescent development over time, using a sample of low-income, predominantly African American and Latino families (N = 850). Interviews with multiple reporters and direct assessments provide standardized measures of paternal involvement, family processes, and adolescent behavioral, emotional, and cognitive development. Longitudinal autoregressive change models help control for both measured and unmeasured time-invariant characteristics, thus partialing out the independent relationship between father involvement and adolescent trajectories. The second level of analyses consider different patterns by child gender and race/ethnicity. Initial results indicate that paternal responsibility and emotional engagement predict improvements in adolescent cognitive achievement and psychological and behavioral well-being over time. Patterns differ by child gender and race/ethnicity. Results are discussed in light of cultural norms and expectations concerning fathers? roles in families.

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Presented in Session 90: Fathers and Families