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Summary:  Father Involvement is Important Factor in Childís Educational Outcomes

Closeness to fathers during childhood has been found to be positively related to adult daughtersí and sonsí educational and occupational ability.

  • According to a  a study featured in the British Journal of Educational Psychology, prior studies have shown that parental involvement in the lives of their children is associated with their  academic performance. However, very few studies have looked at the individual contributions that mothers and fathers make to their childrenís education. A report from the National Center for Educational Statistics (1997) found that children with involved fathers are more likely to have participated in educational activities with their parents (i.e. visit a museum or a historical site), and are more likely to have access to multiple types of resources at home as well. Furthermore, father involvement seems to be an important factor in their school-aged childís academic performance as well. Researchers have also noted that closeness to fathers during childhood has been found to be positively related to adult daughtersí and sonsí educational and occupational ability. According to this article, the decrease in father involvement (typically associated with divorce) can have negative effects on both the cognitive functioning and academic performance of their child. This study aimed to explore the individual contributions that mothersí and fathersí involvement make to their childrenís schooling. Since it is a possibility that gender and family structure may moderate the relationship between parental involvement and educational achievement, this study also looked at whether the association between parental involvement and childrenís educational achievement is stronger for sons or daughters, and for children who lived with continuously intact families versus those who did not. The researchers used a sample of 3,303 individuals and they examined the role of parent involvement at age 7  and their childrenís educational attainment by age 20. The researchers found that parental involvement at age 7 independently predicted educational attainment by age 20 in their child. The association between the parentsí involvement and the childís educational attainment was reportedly not stronger for sons than for daughters. Lastly, the issue of not growing up in intact two-parent families did not seem to weaken the association between the fatherís or motherís involvement and educational outcomes. Overall, the researchers of this study noted that early father involvement can be another protective factor in counter-acting the risk conditions that may lead to low attainment levels later on in their childís life.1

1Early Fatherís and Motherís Involvement and Childís Later Educational Outcomes, British Journal of Educational Psychology, June 2004, pp. 141-153.

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