Family Poverty, Family Processes, and Children’s Preschool Achievement: Understanding the Unique Role of Fathers

Journal Name
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Journal Volume
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Baker, C., Kainz, K. & Reynolds, E.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Resource Language

Developmental research has highlighted the importance of fathers for children’s early academic success, and growing evidence suggests that children living in poverty may benefit the most from positive father involvement. Using a subsample of children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), this study examined direct and mediated pathways from family poverty to children’s preschool achievement. Analyses revealed that poverty had a more consistent negative association with fathers’ parenting than mothers’ parenting and fathers’ parenting was a more consistent mediator of links between poverty and child achievement than mothers’ parenting. Specifically, fathers’ and mothers’ warmth as well as fathers’ home learning stimulation mediated the relation between poverty and children’s reading scores. Furthermore, fathers’ warmth and mothers’ home learning stimulation mediated the relation between poverty and children’s math scores. Results point to the unique contribution of fathers to children’s preschool achievement and imply that poverty is differentially associated with fathers’ and mothers’ parenting practices during the early childhood period.

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