Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
This study examined profiles of nonresidential father engagement (i.e., support to the adolescent, contact frequency, remarriage, relocation, and interparental conflict) with their adolescent children (N = 156) 6 to 8 years following divorce and the prospective relation between these profiles and the psychosocial functioning of their offspring, 9 years later. Parental divorce occurred during late childhood to early adolescence; indicators of nonresidential father engagement were assessed during adolescence, and mental health problems and academic achievement of offspring were assessed 9 years later in young adulthood. Three profiles of father engagement were identified in our sample of mainly White, non-Hispanic divorced fathers: Moderate Involvement/Low Conflict, Low Involvement/Moderate Conflict, and High Involvement/High Conflict. Profiles differentially predicted offspring outcomes 9 years later when they were young adults, controlling for quality of the mother–adolescent relationship, mother's remarriage, mother's income, and gender, age, and offspring mental health problems in adolescence. Offspring of fathers characterized as Moderate Involvement/Low Conflict had the highest academic achievement and the lowest number of externalizing problems 9 years later compared to offspring whose fathers had profiles indicating either the highest or lowest levels of involvement but higher levels of conflict. Results indicate that greater paternal psychosocial support and more frequent father–adolescent contact do not outweigh the negative impact of interparental conflict on youth outcomes in the long term. Implications of findings for policy and intervention are discussed. (Author abstract)
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