Family structure, father-child closeness and social-behavioral outcomes for children.

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Carlson, Marcia J.
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Since father absence is associated with adverse outcomes for children, one would expect greater father involvement to obviate the negative effects of experiencing a single-parent family. Yet, many studies do not demonstrate that greater father-child interaction has beneficial effects for children and adolescents. This is because the quality of father involvement may be more important for children's wellbeing than the quantity. Using data from the 1997 Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement, this paper examines how father-child closeness may mediate the effects of family structure on various social-behavioral outcomes for children, as well as fathering behaviors that are linked to closeness. I find that father-child closeness partially "explains" family structure effects, and fathers' warmth and affection toward their children is positively associated with closeness. (Author abstract).

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