Lydia Killos, University of Virginia
Abstract: This study examines whether fathers' involvement in parenting during middle childhood and pre-adolescence is uniquely associated with children's relative gains in math and reading achievement, and in children's social development in third through sixth grades. Data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development includes 560 fathers and mothers, and standardized math and reading achievement scores from their school-aged children, as well as teacher reports of relationship with the child, teacher reports of child behavior problems, and child peer reports of friendship quality with the study child. Father involvement is conceptualized by the measurement of both the quantity and quality of father involvement. For example, measures of quantity include: the amount of time fathers spend with their children, the number of hours per week fathers work outside the home, and the number of days per week fathers report playing outdoors with the child, and sharing a family meal together. Fathering quality is based upon measures of fathers' sensitivity, fathers' beliefs about raising children (whether traditional or progressive), fathers' parenting style (harsh, firm, or lax) and fathers' reports of relationship with the study child. A multiple factor model of father involvement was created to examine the association of father involvement with child academic, behavioral, and social outcomes. Maternal behaviors of child involvement are also introduced to the model to predict child outcomes, and allow us to evaluate the ways that father involvement predicts child outcomes which are measurably distinct from predictions based upon the maternal role.