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IES Grant

Title: Men's Parenting Behaviors in Families of Children with Disabilities: Findings from the ECLS-B
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: McBride, Brent Awardee: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2012–6/30/2014 Award Amount: $357,513
Type: Exploration Award Number: R324A120174

Co-Principal Investigators: Rosa Milagros Santos (University of Illinois), Sungjin Hong (University of Illinois), W. Justin Dyer (Brigham Young University)

Purpose: Although a rapidly growing body of research has documented the impact of father involvement with typically developing children, little is known about how men approach parenting children with disabilities, and how their involvement impacts child, mother, and family well-being that support child cognitive and socio-emotional development and school readiness. The purpose of the project is to examine the data available in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) to investigate the roles fathers play in families of children with disabilities.

Project Activities: This project will analyze the ECLS-B to examine the structure, antecedents, and consequences of fathers' involvement in families of children with disabilities. Comparisons will be made between the underlying structures of paternal involvement of fathers of children with and without disabilities. Specifically, the researchers will address: (1) how the presence, timing, and severity of a child's disability relate to the structure and levels of father involvement; (2) how the presence, timing, and severity of a child's disability influence the trajectory of father involvement from 9 months to 4 years of age; (3) the antecedents (e.g., family processes, characteristics of the father and/or mother, characteristics of the child, maternal involvement, contextual sources of stress and support) of father involvement, and whether these antecedents differ by the presence, timing, and severity of a child's disability; and (4) the direct and indirect effects of father involvement on family process and maternal and child well-being in families of children with disabilities.

Products: The expected products from this study include publications and presentations on research activities and findings that may serve as a basis for the development of educational interventions that promote father involvement and improve developmental outcomes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities. These findings will also offer direct service providers information they can use to support families and, in particular, fathers of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The ECLS-B is a nationally representative dataset.

Sample: The ECLS-B includes approximately 14,000 children born in 2001. To date, information for this dataset has been collected from mothers, fathers, teachers, and child care providers when the children were 9 months, 2 years, and 4 years of age, and during the kindergarten transition year. The ECLS-B includes data from approximately 8,392 residential fathers and 2,198 non-residential fathers.

The population of interest for the analyses will be those children that had a diagnosed disability or developmental delay and/or were receiving early intervention services. Children will be grouped based on when the child was identified with the disability and/or developmental delay (i.e., 9 months, 2 years, 4 years).

Intervention: There is no intervention.

Research Design and Methods: This project will conduct secondary data analysis with an existing dataset. Analyses will be designed to explore the structure, sources, and consequences of fathers' involvement in families of children with disabilities.

Control Condition: There is no control condition in the study design. However, comparisons will be made between fathers of children with and without disabilities.

Key Measures: Key outcome measures include those assessing children's cognitive development, emotional functioning, literacy skills, and school readiness. These data are collected from multiple sources (e.g., children, their parents, their child care providers), and through multiple formats (e.g., survey questionnaires, parent interviews, direct child assessments).

Data Analytic Strategy: To address the research questions outlined above, a variety of structural equation modeling techniques (e.g., latent variable growth curve modeling, general growth mixture modeling) will be used to capitalize on the longitudinal nature of the ECLS-B data.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Jeans, L.M., Santos, R.M., Laxman, D.J., McBride, B.A., and Dyer, W.J. (2013). Early Predictors of ASD in Young Children Using a Nationally Representative Data Set. Journal of Early Intervention, 35(4): 303–331.

Jeans, L.M., Santos, R.M., Laxman, D.J., McBride, B.A., and Dyer, W.J. (2013). Examining Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort (ECLS-B): Maternal Stress and Depressive Symptoms When Raising Children With ASD. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 33(3): 162–171. doi:10.1177/0271121413481680

Kern, J. L., McBride, B. A., Laxman, D. J., Dyer, W. J., Santos, R. M., and Jeans, L. M. (2016). The Role of Multiple-Group Measurement Invariance in Family Psychology Research. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(3): 1–13. doi:10.1037/fam0000184

Laxman, D.J., McBride, B.A., Jeans, L.M., Dyer, W.J., Santos, R.M., Kern, J., Sugimura, N., and Curtiss, S.L. (2015). Father Involvement and Maternal Depressive Symptoms in Families of Children With Disabilities. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 19(5): 1078–1086. doi:10.1007/s10995–014–1608–7

McBride, B. A., Curtiss, S. J., Laxman, D. J., Santos, R. M., Weglarz, J., Dyer, W. J., Jeans, L. M., and Kern, J. (2017). Father Involvement in Early Intervention: Exploring the Gap Between Service Providers' Perceptions and Practices. Journal of Early Intervention, 39(2): 71–87. Retrieved from