Pacific Father Involvement and Early Child Behaviour Outcomes: Findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between father involvement and their child’s behaviour outcomes amongst a birth cohort of Pacific children and fathers in New Zealand. A birth cohort was established in 2000 from births at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland where at least one parent was identified as being of Pacific ethnicity and a New Zealand permanent resident. This included 1,376 mothers, 825 fathers, and 1,398 children at baseline. At the 6-years measurement wave, father involvement was measured using the Inventory of Father Involvement, and child behaviour measured using the Child Behaviour Check-list. Internalising and externalising behaviour was related to father involvement in crude and adjusted logistic regression and generalised estimating equation models. 571 Pacific fathers participated at the 6-years measurement wave; most of Samoan (42.9 %) or Tongan (33.5 %) ethnic identification. Overall, 190 (32.1 %) children exhibited clinical or border-line internalising and externalising behaviour. Self-reported father involvement was generally high, but lower involvement was significantly related to increased odds of internalising [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) approximately 1.9, p < 0.001] and externalising (aOR approximately 4.0, p < 0.001) behaviour. Father involvement was significantly associated with child behaviour in Pacific families within New Zealand. Strategies that promote and enable increased father involvement may reduce negative child outcomes amongst Pacific families.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Abel, S., Park, J., Tipene-Leach, D., Finau, S., & Lennan, M. (2001). Infant care practices in New Zealand: A cross-cultural qualitative study. Social Science and Medicine, 53(9), 1135–1148.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2000). Manual for the ASEBA preschool forms and profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA school forms and profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand. (2007). Pacific alcohol and drugs outcomes project. Wellington: ALAC.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Barkman, C., & Schulte-Markwort, M. (2005). Emotional and behavioural problems of children and adolescents in Germany. Society of Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 40, 357–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Berry, J. (Ed.). (1980). Acculturation as varieties of adaptation. Boulder: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bordin, I., Duarte, C. S., Peres, C. A., Nascimento, R., Curto, B. M., & Paula, C. S. (2009). Severe physical punishment: Risk of mental health problems for poor urban children in Brazil. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 87, 336–344.

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Borrows, J., Williams, M., Schluter, P. J., Paterson, J., & Helu, S. L. (2010). Pacific Islands Families Study: The association of infant health risk indicators and acculturation of Pacific Island mothers living in New Zealand. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42(5), 699–724.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Cabrera, N. J., Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., Bradley, R. H., Hofferth, S., & Lamb, M. E. (2000). Fatherhood in the twenty-first century. Child Development, 71(1), 127–136.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Callister, P., & Didham, R. (2008). Emerging demographics and socioeconomic features of the Pacific population in New Zealand. In A. Bisley (Ed.), Pacific interactions: Pacific in New Zealand: New Zealand in Pacific. Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Campbell, S. (1995). Behavior problems in preschool children: A review of recent research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 113–149.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Coley, R., & Hernandez, D. (2006). Predictors of paternal involvement for resident and nonresident low-income fathers. Developmental Psychology, 42, 1041–1056.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Crijnen, A., Achenbach, T. M., & Verhulst, F. C. (1997). Comparisons of problems reported by parents of children in 12 cultures: Total problems, externalizing, and internalizing. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36(9), 1269–1277.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Crijnen, A., Achenbach, T. M., & Verhulst, F. C. (1999). Problems reported by parents of children in multiple cultures: The Child Behavior Checklist syndrome constructs. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(4), 569–574.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. De Luccie, M., & Davis, A. J. (1991). Father–child relationships from the preschool years through mid-adolescence. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 152(2), 225–238.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Dubowitz, H., Black, M. M., Cox, C. E., Kerr, M. A., Litrownik, A. J., Radhakrishna, A., et al. (2001). Father involvement and children’s functioning at age 6 years: A multisite study. Child Maltreatment, 6(4), 300–309.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Erol, N., Sinsek, Z., Oner, O., & Munir, K. (2005). Behavioral and emotional problems among Turkish children at ages 2 and 3 years. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 44, 81–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Families Commission. (2007). Being the best fathers they can be. Family Voice, 1(9), 1–3.

  19. Families Commission. (2008a). Give and take: Families’ perceptions and experiences of flexible work in New Zealand. Wellington: Families Commission.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Families Commission. (2008b). Statement of intent 20102013. Retrieved June 14, 2010, from http://www.nzfamilies.org.nz/publications-resources/strategic-documents

  21. Finau, S., & Tukuitonga, C. (1999). Pacific peoples in New Zealand. In P. Davis & K. Dew (Eds.), Health and society in Aotearoa New Zealand. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Fitzgerald, J., Hodgetts, A., Ryan, J., Brassington, J., Collier, J., & Augustine, T. (2006). A review of progress and outcome measures: Use with sensitive claims clients in Aotearoa New Zealand. Hamilton: The Psychology Centre.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Flouri, E. (2005). Fathering and child outcomes. West Sussex, NJ: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Flouri, E., & Buchanan, A. (2003). The role of father involvement in children’s later mental health. Journal of Adolescence, 26(1), 63–78.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Hawkins, A., Bradford, K. P., Palkovitz, R., Christiansen, S. L., Day, R. D., & Call, V. R. (2002). The inventory of father involvement: A pilot study of a new measure of father involvement. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 10, 183–196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Hawkins, A., & Palkovitz, R. (1999). Beyond ticks and clicks: The need for more diverse and broader conceptualizations and measures of father involvement. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 8, 11–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Health Research Council. (2006). Strategic plan for Pacific health research 2006–2010. Auckland: Health Research Council.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Health Research Council. (2007). HRC research portfolio strategy. Auckland: Health Research Council.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Hill, S., & Liang, L. (2008). Smoking in the home and children’s health. Tobacco Control, 17, 32–37.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Hofferth, S. (2003). Race/ethnic differences in father involvement in two-parent families: Culture, context, or economy? Journal of Family Issues, 24, 185–216.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Iusitini, L., Gao, W., Sundborn, G., & Paterson, J. (2011). Parenting practices among fathers of a cohort of Pacific infants in New Zealand. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42(1), 39–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Javo, C., Ronning, J., Heyerdahl, S., & Rudmin, F. W. (2004). Parenting correlates of child behaviour problems in a multiethnic community sample of preschool children in northern Norway. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 13, 8–18.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Lamb, M. (Ed.). (2004). The role of the father in child development (4th ed.). New York, NY: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Lamb, M., Pleck, J. H., Charnov, E. L., & Levine, J. A. (1987). A biosocial perspective on paternal behavior and involvement. In J. Lancaster, J. Altmann, A. Rossi, & L. Sherrod (Eds.), Parenting across the lifespan: Biosocial dimensions (pp. 111–142). New York, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Lamb, M., & Tamis-LeMonda, C. S. (2004). The role of the father: An introduction. In M. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 1–31). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Loureiro, M., Sanz-de-Galdeano, A., & Vuri, D. (2006). Smoking habits: Like father, like son, like mother, like daughter. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labour.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Marshall, K. (2005). Cultural issues. In A. B. Smith, M. M. Gollop, N. J. Taylor, & K. Marshall (Eds.), The discipline and guidance of children: Messages from research (pp. 53–78). Wellington: Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Ministry of Health. (1998). Child health strategy. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Ministry of Health. (2008a). Pacific child health: A paper for the Pacific health and disability action plan review. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Ministry of Health. (2008b). Pacific peoples and mental health: A paper for the Pacific health and disability action plan review. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Palkovitz, R. (2002). Involved fathering and child development: Advancing our understanding of good fathering. In C. Tamis-LeMonda & N. Cabrera (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 119–140). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Paterson, J., Carter, S., Gao, W., & Perese, L. (2007). Pacific Islands Families Study: Behavioral problems among two-year-old Pacific children living in New Zealand. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48(5), 514–522.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Paterson, J., Percival, T., Schluter, P. J., Sundborn, G., Abbott, M., Carter, S., et al. (2008). Cohort profile: The Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 37(2), 273–279.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Paterson, J., Tukuitonga, C., Abbott, M., Feehan, M., Silva, P., Percival, T., et al. (2006). Pacific Islands Families: First two years of life study—Design and methodology. New Zealand Medical Journal, 119(1228), U1814.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Paulhus, D. L. (1991). Measurement and control of response bias. In J. P. Robinson, P. R. Schaffer, & L. S. Wrightsman (Eds.), Measures of social psychological attitudes (pp. 17–59). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Pulotu-Endemann, F. K. (2009). Fonofale model. Retrieved September 25, 2009, from http://www.hpforum.org.nz/resources/Fonofalemodelexplanation.pdf

  47. Rienks, S., Wadsworth, M., Markman, H., Einhorn, L., & Etter, E. (2011). Father involvement in urban low-income fathers: Baseline associations and changes resulting from preventive intervention. Family Relations, 60, 191–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Robinson, M., Oddy, W. H., Li, J., Kendall, G. E., de Klerk, N. H., Silburn, S. R., et al. (2008). Pre and postnatal influences on preschool mental health: A large-scale cohort study. The Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 49, 1118–1128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Rothman, K., & Greenland, S. (1998). Modern epidemiology (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott-Raven.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica, 97(2), 153–158.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  51. Statistics New Zealand. (2006). Pacific profiles. Wellington: Statistics New Zealand.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Sun, G., Shook, T. L., & Kay, G. L. (1996). Inappropriate use of bivariable analysis to screen risk factors for use in multivariable analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 49(8), 907–916.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  53. Sundborn, G., Paterson, J., Jhagroo, U., Taylor, S., Iusitini, L., Tautolo, E., et al. (2011). Cohort profile: A decade on and strong—The Pacific Islands Families Study. Pacific Health Dialog, 17(2), 9–21.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  54. Tautolo, E. (2011). Pacific fathers cultivating the future: The health of Pacific fathers and their influence upon and involvement with their children. AUT University, PhD Thesis.

  55. Teitler, J. O. (2001). Father involvement, child health, and maternal health behavior. Children and Youth Services Review, 23, 403–425.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Tsai, J. L., Ying, Y., & Lee, P. A. (2000). The meaning of being Chinese and being American: Variation among Chinese American young adults. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31(3), 302–322.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. United Nations Secretariat. (2011). Men in families and family policy in a changing world. New York, NY: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Vaioleti, T. M. (2006). Talanoa research methodology: A developing position on Pacific research. Waikato Journal of Education, 12, 21–34.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Wall, G., & Arnold, S. (2007). How involved is involved fathering? An exploration of the contemporary culture of fatherhood. Gender and Society, 21(4), 508–527.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. World Health Organization Europe. (2007). Fatherhood and health outcomes in Europe: A summary report. Copenhagen: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the participants who agreed to be interviewed and whose detailed responses provided the basis of this article.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to El-Shadan Tautolo.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tautolo, ES., Schluter, P.J. & Paterson, J. Pacific Father Involvement and Early Child Behaviour Outcomes: Findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study. J Child Fam Stud 24, 3497–3505 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0151-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Fathers
  • Involvement
  • Child behaviour
  • CBCL
  • Pacific health
  • Pacific families
  • Early childhood