Father residence and father-child relationship quality: Peer relationships and externalizing behavioral problems

Natasha J. Cabrera, Gina A. Cook, Karen E. McFadden, Robert Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using longitudinal data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Study, we examined links between early fathers' residence and father-child relationship quality and children's social development. Participants were 508 ethnically diverse children and their fathers and mothers in low-income families. Fathers reported on their residence during early childhood (age 2- pre K); mothers reported on children's externalizing behavioral problems and on father residence when children were in 5th grade; and 5th graders reported on the quality of their relationships with fathers and on their relationships with peers. The long-term link between early father residence and the quality of the father-child relationship in 5th grade was significant and partially mediated by father residence during 5th grade. Early father residence or father residence at 5th grade did not predict children's behavioral problems and peer relationships in 5th grade. Only the father-child relationship quality was directly linked to children's peer relationships and behavioral problems. Early father residence had no long-term links to children's social development; however, during middle childhood the quality of the father-child relationship was an important predictor of children's social adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalFamily Science
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

Keywords

  • behavior problems
  • low-income fathers
  • middle childhood
  • peer relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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