Paternal involvement with adolescents in intact families: The influence of fathers over the life course

Abstract

We measure the quality and quantity of fathers’ involvement with adolescent children in intact families over time using longitudinal data from The National Survey of Children. We examine differentials in fathers’ involvement by children’s and family characteristics and model the long-term effects of fathers’ involvement on children’s outcomes in the transition to adulthood. Fathers are more involved with sons than with daughters and they disengage from adolescents with increasing marital conflict. We find beneficial effects for children of father’s involvement in three domains: educational and economic attainment, delinquent behavior, and psychological well-being. The course of affective relations throughout adolescence also has a beneficial effect on delinquent behavior and psychological well-being.

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Correspondence to Kathleen Mullan Harris.

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This research was supported by a grant from The Hewlett Foundation. A previous version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York, August 16–20, 1996. We are grateful to Phil Morgan, Glen Elder, Ron Rindfuss, guest editor Suzanne Bianchi, and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on early versions of this paper.

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Harris, K.M., Furstenberg, F.F. & Marmer, J.K. Paternal involvement with adolescents in intact families: The influence of fathers over the life course. Demography 35, 201–216 (1998). https://doi.org/10.2307/3004052

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Keywords

  • Parental Involvement
  • Delinquent Behavior
  • Marital Conflict
  • Family Context
  • Intact Family