Child Well-Being

A noted sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe, is one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fathers and fatherhood. “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home,” he says. “Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”6 Fathers have a direct impact on the well-being of their children. It is important for professionals working with fathers—especially in the difficult, emotionally charged arena in which child protective services (CPS) caseworkers operate—to have a working understanding of the literature that addresses this impact. Such knowledge will help make the case for why the most effective CPS case plans will involve fathers.
Author(s): Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, U.S. Children’s Bureau Rosenberg, Jeffrey., Wilcox, W. Bradford, 2006

Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers.
SOURCE: Journal of Marriage and Family, 1994

According to data from the National Survey of Families and Households, greater care from a father is beneficial for difficult children. For fathers registering high on the care scale at an initial measurement, their child’s behavior problems were lower five years later. In contrast, children who received low levels of paternal care were not likely to be free of problems at the five year mark; they were at the greatest risk of being the most troubled. Hence, father’s greater involvement when children are pre-schoolers decreased the likelihood of problem behavior in grade school.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, DC, 1993

A study of 1,977 children age 3 and older living with a residential father or father figure found that children living with married biological parents had significantly fewer externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems than children living with at least one non-biological parent.
Source: Hofferth, S. L. (2006). Residential father family type and child well-being: investment versus selection. Demography, 43, 53-78

A study using a sample of 1409 rural southern adolescents (851 females and 558 males) aged 11 – 18 years, investigated the correlation between father absence and self-reported sexual activity. The results revealed that adolescents in father-absence homes were more likely to report being sexually active compared to adolescents living with their fathers.
Source: Hendricks, C.S., Cesario, S.K., Murdaugh, C., Gibbons, M.E., Servonsky, E.J., Bobadilla, R.V., Hendricks, D.L., Spencer-Morgan, B., & Tavakoli, A. (2005)

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