Father Involvement: a summary of evidence

dad30What if there was something that could improve the health, well-being, executive function, academic achievement social relationships, & life-long career success of children?

According to the 2007 Research Summary of Evidence conducted by Sarah Allen & Kerry Daly at the University of Guelph, there is.

Find the full report, The Effects of Father Involvement: An Updated Research Summary of Evidence, here.

Outcomes for Children

“Father absence has deleterious effects on a wide range of child development outcomes including health, social and emotional, and cognitive outcomes” (Wertheimer & Croan, 2003).

The following is an overview of this research summary:

Infants of involved fathers:

  • are more cognitively competent at 6 months and score higher on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.

Young children of involved fathers:

  • Continue to have higher cognitive functioning at age one;
  • Are better problem solvers as toddlers; and
  • Have higher IQ’s at age three.

School-aged children of involved fathers:

  • Are more likely to demonstrate a greater tolerance for stress and frustration;
  • Have superior problem-solving and adaptive skills;
  • Are better able to manage their emotions and impulses in an appropriate manner;
  • Have peer relationships that are typified by less negativity, less aggression, less conflict, more reciprocity, more generosity, and more positive friendship qualities;
  • Are better academic achievers: they are more likely to get A’s & have higher grade point averages;
  • Have better quantitative and verbal skills.

Teenaged children of involved fathers:

  • are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviour, including less drug use, stealing and truancy;
  • were 80% less likely to have been in jail and 75% less likely to become unwed parents.

Adult children of involved fathers:

  • Are more likely to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement;
  • Are more likely to score high on measures of self-acceptance and personal and social adjustment;
  • Are more likely to have career success including occupational competency;
  • Are more likely to have higher educational attainment; and
  • Are more likely to have psychological well-being.

“Overall, father love appears to be as heavily implicated as mother love in offspring’s psychological well-being and health, as well as in an array of psychological and behavioural problems” (Rohner & Veneziano, 2001).

Benefit for Fathers

Fathers who are involved in their children’s lives are more likely to:

  • exhibit greater psychosocial maturity;
  • be more satisfied with their lives; and
  • feel less psychological distress.

Fathers who are involved in their children’s lives have:

  • fewer accidental and premature deaths;
  • less than average contact with the law;
  • less substance abuse;
  • fewer hospital admissions; and
  • a greater sense of overall well being.

Measures of Father Involvement

dad5The summary offers three measures of father involvement.

These include father involvement measured as:

  1. Time spent together;
  2. Quality of father-child relationships;
  3. Investment in paternal role.






What Makes a Good Childhood?

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What Makes a Good Childhood?

Prenatal to Post secondary Partners have been asking the question: What Makes a Good Childhood?

We’ve collectively identified a working list of features of a good childhood, organized into the following seven themes:

Basic Needs

Housing, food & income

Play & Nature

Opportunities for creative, non-structured play, including freedom to run, play & explore.


Safe homes, safe schools & safe communities

Learning & Community Contribution

Access to a continuum of learning experiences & opportunities to contribute.


A sense of belonging & feeling wanted. Continued acceptance & unconditional regard even when young people become hard to appreciate or youth become intimidating.

Healthy Relationships (Informal Networks)

Love, enduring primary attachment, family, community, friendships & role models.

Community & Health Services (Formal Networks)

Including: Universal services such as recreation resources, neighborhood houses, and health care professionals. Preventative or safety-net supports such as mental health services and crisis response.

What do you think?

Tell us! What have we missed?