Advertisement

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 3544–3553 | Cite as

The Long-term Effects of Early Paternal Presence on Children’s Behavior

  • Angus G. Craig
  • John M. D. Thompson
  • Rebecca Slykerman
  • Clare Wall
  • Rinki Murphy
  • Edwin A. Mitchell
  • Karen E. WaldieEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

A father’s presence in the family is important for promoting adaptive behavioral functioning in children. It is unknown however, if there is a critical time during infancy and childhood for such paternal presence and involvement to affect behaviour. Using data from the Auckland Birthweight Collaborative (ABC) study, we examined the amount of paternal presence children experienced through their first 11 years of life (measured as fathers’ time spent in the same household as their children) and its effect on their behavioral outcomes at 11 years of age. After controlling for potential confounds, children who whose fathers were minimally present (left between 0 and 3.5 years of age) were twice as likely to report clinically significant behavioural difficulties as those whose fathers were present throughout childhood. Those whose fathers were present for early childhood (left between 3.5 and 7 years of age) exhibited no significant differences in their behaviour at 11 years of age when compared to their peers whose fathers remained present. Mothers reported no significant changes in their children’s behavior. Findings suggested that paternal presence early in a child’s life might be most important with regard to promoting adaptive behavioural functioning as they age.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The initial study was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. The 12 month postal questionnaire was funded by Hawkes Bay Medical Research Foundation. The 3.5 year follow-up study was funded by Child Health Research Foundation, Becroft Foundation and Auckland Medical Research Foundation. The 7 year follow-up study was funded by Child Health Research Foundation. The 11 year follow-up was funded by Child Health Research foundation and the Heart Foundation. The genetic component of this study was funded by Child Health Research Foundation. EA Mitchell and JMD Thompson are supported by Cure Kids. The 7 year follow-up study was conducted in the Children’s Research Centre which is supported in part by the Starship Foundation and the Auckland District Health Board. We acknowledge the assistance of Gail Gillies, Barbara Rotherham and Helen Nagels for contacting or assessing the participants. We sincerely thank the parents and children for participating in this study. This is an original paper and there are no copyright issues. There is no material that has appeared in other publications.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10826_2018_1206_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary Tables

References

  1. Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: retrospect and prospect. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 52(4), 664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994). Ecological models of human development. International Encyclopedia of Education, 3(2), 37–43.Google Scholar
  3. Caldera, Y. M. (2004). Paternal involvement and infant-father attachment: a Q-set study. Fathering, 2(2), 191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caplan, P. J., & Hall‐McCorquodale, I. (1985). Mother‐blaming in major clinical journals. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55(3), 345–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carlson, M. J. (2006). Family structure, father involvement, and adolescent behavioral outcomes. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(1), 137–154.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00239.x.http://www.jstor.org/stable/3600362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cassidy, J., Shaver, P.R. (Eds.), 1999. Handbook of attachment: Theory, research and clinical applications. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  7. Castillo, J., Welch, G., & Sarver, C. (2011). Fathering: the relationship between fathers’ residence, fathers’ sociodemographic characteristics, and father involvement. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 15(8), 1342–1349.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-010-0684-6.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20848169.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dawson, D. A. (1991). Family structure and children's health and well-being: data from the 1988 national health interview survey on child health. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53(3), 573–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dunst, C. J. (1984). The family support scale: reliability and validity. Journal of Individual, Family, and Community Wellness, 1(4), 45–52.Google Scholar
  11. Dunst, C. J., & Trivette, C. M. (1986). Looking beyond the parent‐child dyad for the determinants of maternal styles of interaction. Infant Mental Health Journal, 7(1), 69–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elley, W. B., & Irving, J. C. (2003). The Elley-Irving socioeconomic index: 2001 census revision. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 38, 3–17.Google Scholar
  13. Flouri, E., & Buchanan, A. (2002). Father involvement in childhood and trouble with the police in adolescence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17(6), 689–701.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260502017006006. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0886260502017006006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Goodman, R. (1997). The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(5), 581–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goodman, R. (2001). Psychometric properties of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(11), 1337–1345. https://doi.org/S0890-8567(09)60543-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodman, R., Meltzer, H., & Bailey, V. (1998). The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: a pilot study on the validity of the self-report version. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 7(3), 125–130.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s007870050057. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9826298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grace-Martin, K. (2012). When the assumptions of ANCOVA are irrelevant. http://www.theanalysisfactor.com/assumptions-of-ancova/.
  18. Cohen, S., & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the U.S. In S. Spacapam & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology (pp. 31-67). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Knibiehler, Y. (1995) Fathers, patriarchy, paternity. In M. C. P. van Dongen, G. A. B. Frinking & M. J. G. Jacobs (Eds), Changing Fatherhood: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (pp. 201–214) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Thesis Publishers.Google Scholar
  20. Lamb, M. E. (1975). Fathers: forgotten contributors to child development. Human Development, 18(4), 245–266.  https://doi.org/10.1159/000271493. http://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/271493.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Lamb, M. E. (2000). The history of research on father involvement. Marriage & Family Review, 29(2-3), 23–42.  https://doi.org/10.1300/J002v29n02_03. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J002v29n02_03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lamb, M. E. (2004). The role of the father in child development. 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ [u.a.]: Wiley.Google Scholar
  23. Lamb, M. E., Pleck, J. H., Charnov, E. L., & Levine, J. A. (1985). Paternal behavior in humans. American Zoologist, 25(3), 883–894.  https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/25.3.883. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3883043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lamb, M. E., Pleck, J. H., Charnov, E. L., & Levine, J. A. (1987). A biosocial perspective on paternal behavior and involvement. In J. B. Lancaster, J. Altman, A. S. Rossi, & L. R. Sherroa (Eds.), Parenting across the lifespan: Biosocial dimensions (pp. 111–142). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  25. Paquette, D. (2004). Theorizing the father-child relationship: Mechanisms and developmental outcomes. Human Development, 47(4), 193–219.  https://doi.org/10.1159/000078723. http://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/78723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pleck, J. H. (2010). Father involvement: revised conceptualization and theoretical linkages with child outcomes. The role of the father in child development. 5th Ed. (pp. 459–485). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  27. Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00572.x. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpl/apa/2008/00000097/00000002/art00006.Google Scholar
  28. Slykerman, R. F., Thompson, J., Waldie, K., Murphy, R., Wall, C., & Mitchell, E. A. (2015). Maternal stress during pregnancy is associated with moderate to severe depression in 11-year-old children. Acta Paediatrica, 104(1), 68–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sroufe, L. A., & Waters, E. (1977). Attachment as an organizational construct. Child Development, 48, 1184–1199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sroufe, L. A. (1979). The coherence of individual development: early care, attachment, and subsequent developmental issues. American Psychologist, 34(10), 834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thompson, J. M., Clark, P. M., Robinson, E., Becroft, D. M., Pattison, N. S., & Glavish, N., et al. (2001). Risk factors for small-for-gestational-age babies: the auckland birthweight collaborative study. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 37(4), 369–375.  https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-1754.2001.00684.x. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11532057.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Vaden-Kiernan, N., Ialongo, N. S., Pearson, J., & Kellam, S. (1995). Household family structure and children’s aggressive behavior: a longitudinal study of urban elementary school children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 23(5), 553–568.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01447661. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8568079.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Van der Meer, M., Dixon, A., & Rose, D. (2008). Parent and child agreement on reports of problem behaviour obtained from a screening questionnaire, the SDQ. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 17(8), 491–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Verhulst, F. C., & Van der Ende, J. (1992). Agreement between parents’ reports and adolescents’ self‐reports of problem behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 33(6), 1011–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angus G. Craig
    • 1
  • John M. D. Thompson
    • 2
  • Rebecca Slykerman
    • 2
  • Clare Wall
    • 3
  • Rinki Murphy
    • 4
  • Edwin A. Mitchell
    • 2
  • Karen E. Waldie
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of PaediatricsThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Discipline of Nutrition and DieteticsThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Department of MedicineThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations