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Chlld uevelopmenL
Soclal Skllls and
MenLal PealLh & Self-
1obacco, Alcohol &
urug use
School LngagemenL
& Þerformance
AdolescenL Sexual
& Þhyslcal AcuvlLy

!"#$%&! () %&
!"#$%!&'! ) *+,-
1he landscape of chlldhood has
alLered dramaLlcally slnce many
parenLs were chlldren Lhemselves:
• 1he demographlc proflle of
famllles has changed, wlLh
hlgher raLes of slngle parenL
households, parenLal dlvorce
and blended famllles

• 'SLay aL home' parenLlng ls
lncreaslngly rare, wlLh boLh
parenLs ofLen worklng and/or
worklng longer hours

• new modes of worklng such as
fly ln fly ouL (lllC) alLer famlly
dynamlcs and ways of llfe

• 1he world has also changed ln
ways LhaL lmpacL on chlldren:
such as new Lechnologles, and
greaLer fear and uncerLalnLy
(globally and locally). ln Lurn
Lhls has fosLered a proLecLlve
culLure of ºcoLLon wool klds"
and ºhellcopLer parenLlng", buL
Lhls can sLlfle chlldren's
lndependenL moblllLy and
dlscovery of Lhe world

• AusLrallan chlldren are noL as
'healLhy' as Lhey once were,
wlLh many lnsufflclenLly acLlve
and growlng raLes of
overwelghL and obeslLy, menLal
healLh lssues and concernlng
levels of adolescenL alcohol and
drug use
. 1hey are however
much less llkely Lo smoke
clgareLLes Lhan prevlous
Whlle Lhere ls a growlng body of
evldence abouL Lhe role of faLhers,
Lhere are knowledge gaps, and Lhe
quallLy of evldence also varles.
AlLhough a concerLed efforL has
been made Lo capLure research
abouL Lhe poslLlve lnfluences of
faLhers on chlld developmenL and
wellbelng, sLudles Lo daLe have
more ofLen focused on Lhe
negaLlve lmpacLs of poor or absenL
faLherlng on chlldren.

CulLe a number of sLudles have
lnvesLlgaLed very speclflc subseLs
of faLhers (such as lncarceraLed
faLhers or Lhose wlLh serlous
subsLance addlcLlon lssues), buL for
Lhe purpose of Lhls overvlew, we
have prlmarlly focused on evldence
LhaL ls appllcable Lo general
We shouldn'L underesLlmaLe Lhe vasL lmporLance of faLhers ln chlldren's
llves, noL only because chlldren 'need and love Lhelr dads' , buL also
because of Lhe slgnlflcanL lmpacL LhaL faLhers have on Lhe soclal, cognlLlve,
emoLlonal and physlcal well-belng of chlldren from lnfancy Lo adolescence
and wlLh lasLlng lnfluences lnLo Lhelr adulL llfe.
"Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their
children that no other person is as likely to bring."
Þopenoe, u. (1996) p.163.
1hls summary of evldence ls based on a revlew of Lhe llLeraLure and
research publlshed prlmarlly ln Lhe lasL 10 years. As Lhere ls a vasL
volume of research relaLlng Lo parenLlng and chlldren more generally, Lhe
revlew focused on evldence relaLlng speclflcally Lo Lhe role of faLhers and
faLher flgures.
1hls summary of evldence ls based on a revlew of llLeraLure and research
publlshed prlmarlly ln Lhe lasL 10 years. As Lhere ls a vasL volume of research
relaLlng Lo parenLlng and chlldren more generally, Lhe revlew focused on
evldence relaLlng speclflcally Lo Lhe lnfluence of faLhers and faLher flgures.
Whlle Lhere ls a growlng body of
evldence abouL Lhe role of faLhers
ln chlldren's llves, Lhere are also
knowledge gaps, and Lhe quallLy of
evldence varles. AlLhough a
concerLed efforL has been made Lo
capLure evldence abouL Lhe
poslLlve lnfluences of faLhers on
chlld developmenL and wellbelng,
lL ls perLlnenL Lo noLe LhaL sLudles
Lo daLe have more ofLen focused
on Lhe negaLlve lmpacLs of poor or
absenL faLherlng on chlldren.

CulLe a number of sLudles have
lnvesLlgaLed very speclflc subseLs
of faLhers (such as lncarceraLed
faLhers or Lhose wlLh serlous
subsLance addlcLlon lssues), buL for
Lhe purpose of Lhls overvlew, we
have prlmarlly focused on evldence
LhaL ls appllcable Lo general

I|gure 1: key Lv|dence 1hemes

!"#$% %'('$)*+',-
1here ls growlng evldence and aLLenLlon Lo Lhe lmporLance of early chlldhood developmenL and
how Lhls has flow on lmpacLs LhroughouL chlldhood and lnLo adulL llfe. AlLhough research on
parenLlng has Lended Lo focus more on moLhers or famllles ln general, Lhere ls mounLlng evldence
supporLlng Lhe crlLlcal role of faLherlng.

Lv|dence from a systemat|c rev|ew of 18 stud|es, |nd|cates that father engagement pos|t|ve|y
affects soc|a|, behav|oura|, psycho|og|ca| and cogn|t|ve outcomes of ch||dren
. More
spec|f|ca||y, h|gh |eve|s of father |nvo|vement have been ||nked to
• hlgher levels of cognlLlve and soclal compeLence
• lncreased soclal responslblllLy and capaclLy for empaLhy
• poslLlve self-conLrol and self-esLeem
• more poslLlve lnLeracLlons wlLh slbllngs
• fewer school ad[usLmenL dlfflculLles and beLLer academlc progress
WhllsL boLh parenLs play crlLlcal roles ln Lhe early developmenL of chlld securlLy and aLLachmenL,
some lnfluences are more pronounced among faLhers or moLhers. lor lnsLance, evldence suggesLs
LhaL faLhers conLrlbuLe mosL Lo provldlng play exploraLlon whlch helps develop emoLlonal and
behavloural self-regulaLlon, whllsL moLhers Lend Lo be Lhe provlders of comforL ln Llmes of
. 1hese early experlences wlLh faLhers can help fosLer ºsecure exploraLlon" of challenglng
or unknown slLuaLlons and Lhls can have a lasLlng lmpacL Lhrough chlldhood
. laLhers can furLher
conLrlbuLe lndlrecLly Lo chlld developmenL, as research lndlcaLes moLhers are more paLlenL,
flexlble, emoLlonally responslve, senslLlve, and avallable Lo Lhelr lnfanLs and young chlldren when
Lhey are supporLed and encouraged by Lhe chlld's faLher

“Available evidence clearly demonstrates the importance of fathers to the
developmental health and well-being of their children. While fathers’ traditional
breadwinning role remains important, the paternal role is now recognised to be much
broader than this, reflecting societal change in role expectations for women, as well
as increasing knowledge about the contribution of paternal influences to children’s
developmental well-being.” Wllson, k & Þrlor, M. (2011) p. 403.
!"#$ "&# '())#*
!"#$%&&& !"#$%&%' #$)
!"#$%&' )* *#&+,-
Whlle Lhere are dlfferlng vlews
and flndlngs surroundlng Lhe
relaLlve lmporLance of quallLy
and quanLlLy ln relaLlon Lo
faLherlng, overall, boLh are

Çua||ty: A faLher who spends
loLs of Llme lnLeracLlng wlLh hls
chlldren buL does so ln a crlLlcal
or demeanlng way may be dolng
harm raLher Lhan good, as lL can
negaLlvely affecL self-esLeem

Çuant|ty: lnsufflclenL Llme
hlnders Lhe bulldlng and
malnLenance of a poslLlve
faLher-chlld relaLlonshlp. lL has
also been argued LhaL dads who
don'L spend much Llme wlLh
Lhelr chlldren may lack
confldence or undersLandlng of
Lhelr chlld's characLerlsLlcs

SlgnlflcanL faLher absence ln a
famlly can have a deleLerlous
effecL on chlldren's
!"#$%& !($&&! %)* +,!"#$%&'($)'

CurrenL llLeraLure lndlcaLes LhaL faLhers play a parLlcularly crlLlcal role ln fosLerlng soclal
skllls and capaclLy for poslLlve relaLlonshlps ln Lhelr chlldren. laLhers who demonsLraLe
poslLlve behavlours such as accesslblllLy, engagemenL and responslblllLy conLrlbuLe Lo
• beLLer psychosoclal ad[usLmenL
• hlgher levels of soclal compeLence
• lncreased soclal responslblllLy, soclal maLurlLy and llfe skllls
• more poslLlve chlld/adolescenL-faLher relaLlonshlps
kecent research a|so h|gh||ghts that fathers p|ay a d|st|nct (as |n d|fferent to mothers) and
|ntegra| ro|e |n ch||dren's soc|a||sat|on. lor example, a uS sLudy of parenLal lnvolvemenL
durlng Lhe LranslLlon from chlldhood Lo adolescence found LhaL Lhe soclal Llme (Llme wlLh
parenLs ln Lhe presence of oLhers) LhaL Leenagers spenL wlLh faLhers was slgnlflcanLly
assoclaLed wlLh lncreased soclal compeLence (eg soclal skllls, effecLlve soclal lnLeracLlons),
buL Lhe same effecL was noL observed for moLhers
Converse|y, poor paterna| re|at|onsh|ps and father|ng behav|ours can have a |ast|ng effect
on ch||dren's soc|a| ad[ustment and re|at|onsh|ps. A 2012 sLudy hlghllghLs LhaL Lhe
percepLlon of a poor faLher-chlld relaLlonshlp durlng chlldhood ls assoclaLed wlLh poorer
adulL soclal funcLlonlng, slgnlflcanLly decreased llkellhood of secure ad[usLmenL sLyle, and a
slgnlflcanLly lncreased rlsk of avoldanL or dependenL aLLachmenL sLyles
“Supportive parenting behaviours in which the father provides expressive
and instrumental affection, nurturance, interest and companionship enhance
children’s self-esteem, life satisfaction and social competence “
Parrls, k. eL al. (1998) "# $%$

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Much of Lhe research on faLherlng has focused on lLs lmpllcaLlons for chlld
and adolescenL menLal healLh, wlLh compe|||ng ev|dence that father|ng has
s|gn|f|cant protect|ve and pos|t|ve effects on the menta| hea|th of ch||dren
across var|ous ages and stages of deve|opment. 8elng warm and
, lnvolved
, and engaged wlLh Lhelr chlld
are among faLherlng
LralLs LhaL have been shown Lo poslLlvely lmpacL a chlld's menLal healLh.
Converse|y, poor father-ch||d re|at|onsh|ps can negat|ve|y |mpact on a
ch||d's menta| hea|th, both |n ch||dhood and |ater dur|ng ado|escence and
|n adu|thood
. ln a recenL sLudy, poor quallLy early faLher-chlld
relaLlonshlps were conslsLenLly assoclaLed wlLh an lncreased prevalence of
adulL menLal healLh dlsorders such as depresslon, blpolar, anxleLy dlsorders
and phoblas. 1hls was lrrespecLlve of soclo-economlc sLaLus and percelved
quallLy of chlldhood maLernal relaLlonshlp or currenL soclal relaLlonshlps
Cne sLudy noLed LhaL depresslve sympLoms ln faLhers are assoclaLed wlLh
lncreased faLher-chlld-confllcL and chlld exLernallslng sympLoms
, whllsL
anoLher sLudy found LhaL lower faLher lnvolvemenL was slgnlflcanLly llnked
Lo lower llfe saLlsfacLlon ln Leenage boys

1he LranslLlon Lhrough puberLy and lnLo adolescence ls a challenglng Llme
for many young people, wlLh helghLened rlsk of menLal healLh lssues. uurlng
Lhls perlod, Lhe faLher-chlld relaLlonshlp can be a slgnlflcanL proLecLlve
facLor. lor example, youLhs who spend more one-on-one Llme wlLh Lhelr
faLher have been found Lo have hlgher general self-worLh Lhan Lhose
spendlng less Llme wlLh Lhelr faLher

laLhers are also lmporLanL Lo Lhelr Leenage chlldren's healLh seeklng
behavlours, wlLh one sLudy demonsLraLlng adolescenLs were more llkely Lo
seek LreaLmenL for depresslon when Lhelr faLhers demonsLraLed warmLh
and supporLlveness
8ecenL parenLlng books ofLen hlghllghL Lhe lmporLance of faLhers ln Lhe llves
of boys, parLlcularly as Lhey LranslLlon lnLo and Lhrough adolescence
Powever, faLhers play a crlLlcal role for daughLers also, lncludlng poslLlve
lnfluences on Lhelr menLal wellbelng. A recenL reLrospecLlve sLudy wlLh
young adulL females found LhaL faLher lnvolvemenL and faLher nurLurlng
durlng chlldhood were slgnlflcanLly poslLlvely correlaLed wlLh daughLer's
self-esLeem and llfe saLlsfacLlon ln early adulLhood

“Overall, father love appears to be as heavily
implicated as mother love in offsprings’ psychological
well-being and health, as well as in an array of
psychological and behavioural problems.”
8ohnern, 8. & venezlano, 8. (2001) p. 11
Fathers need to stay mentally healthy themselves, as
this enhances their ability to be a great dad, and to enjoy
the experiences of being a father. Taking care of their
own health and mental wellbeing also enables fathers to
cope better with challenges or stresses that parenting
might bring.

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ÞarenLal facLors shown Lo reduce
Lhe llkellhood of adolescenL
lnlLlaLlon and use of alcohol, Lobacco
or llllclL drugs lnclude
• subsLance-speclflc rules
• parenLal modelllng of absLlnence
or low consumpLlon
• llmlLlng avallablllLy of subsLance
Lo Lhe chlld
• parenLal monlLorlng of chlld's
• parenL-chlld relaLlonshlp quallLy
eg. accepLance, lnvolvemenL,
warmLh, communlcaLlon
• parenLal norms abouL lnlLlaLlon/
• poslLlve moLher-faLher
!"#$%& (%&)*) +,#$%&
!"#$%&"'&( *" (%+(,-!"# %&#
WheLher faLhers or moLhers have a
greaLer or dlfferenL lnfluence on
subsLance use ls noL sLrongly
esLabllshed and Lhe evldence ls aL Llmes
. Some sLudles reporL a
unlque or greaLer effecL for faLhers
compared wlLh moLhers, oLhers focus
on parenLs more collecLlvely. ln a 2012
uS survey of 1003 Leenagers, Lhose who
reporLed an excellenL relaLlonshlp wlLh
Lhelr dad were four Llmes less llkely Lo
have used marl[uana, and Lwo Llmes less
llkely Lo have used alcohol, buL slmllar
paLLerns were observed for Leen
percepLlons of Lhelr relaLlonshlp wlLh
Lhelr moLher

WhaL ls clear ls LhaL Lhe vulnerablllLy of
chlldren ls exacerbaLed lf boLh parenLs
have drug or alcohol lssues
. Conversely, Lhe
conslsLency of parenLal role modelllng,
aLLlLudes and rules regardlng drug and
alcohol also emerge as lmporLanL
proLecLlve facLors
!"#$%%"& $(%")"( $*+ !"#$ #&'
Whlle much of Lhe evldence relaLes Lo Lhe lnfluence of parenLs and Lhe home
envlronmenL more generally on Lhe rlsk and exLenL of subsLance use ln chlldren and
adolescenLs, a growlng number of sLudles focus more speclflcally on Lhe lmporLanL
role of faLhers ln prevenLlng smoklng upLake, under-age drlnklng and llllclL drug use.
lndeed, some of Lhe research spec|f|c to fathers |nd|cates that the|r |nf|uence on
a|coho| and ||||c|t drug use |n ch||dren and ado|escents may be d|st|nct and stronger
than that of mothers. lor lnsLance:
• 8esearch lndlcaLes LhaL wlLhln dual parenL famllles, faLhers have a slgnlflcanL
proLecLlve effecL on Lhelr chlld's rlsk of havlng Lrled alcohol, clgareLLes or
marl[uana, even afLer conLrolllng for moLher-chlld relaLlonshlp, maLernal
monlLorlng, oLher maLernal characLerlsLlcs, famlly- and household-level
characLerlsLlcs, and chlld-level characLerlsLlcs
• ?ouLh from faLher-only households have been reporLed Lo engage ln hlgher
levels of clgareLLe, alcohol, and marl[uana use Lhan Lhose from moLher-only or
dual-parenL households

• 8esearch shows LhaL parenLal lnfluences regardlng vulnerablllLles for alcohol use
may be speclflc Lo parenL-chlld gender maLches for some paLhways, and speclflc
Lo faLhers or moLhers (lrrespecLlve of chlld gender) for oLher paLhways. lor
example, havlng an auLhorlLarlan faLher has been found Lo lncrease neuroLlc
sympLoms ln Lhe Lenslon reducLlon paLhway Lo alcohol-relaLed problems among
male offsprlng, buL noL female offsprlng
• Peavy drlnklng or alcohollsm ln faLhers (buL noL moLhers) has been assoclaLed
wlLh earller onseL and heavler levels of alcohol use, and lncreased rlsk of
LranslLlon Lo hazardous consumpLlon or alcohol dlsorders by chlldren or
• ÞroLecLlve facLors such as parenL-chlld closeness and dlsclpllne have been
slgnlflcanLly assoclaLed wlLh reduced chance of alcohol consumpLlon and
reduced rlsk of a recenL alcohol blnges ln Lhe case of faLhers buL noL moLhers

I|||c|t Drugs
• laLhers can be lnfluenLlal ln Lhelr absence as famlly sLrucLure and llvlng
arrangemenLs are parLlcularly crlLlcal Lo llllclL drug lnlLlaLlon and percepLlon. lor
example, chlldren of slngle parenL or sLep parenL homes are aL slgnlflcanLly
hlgher rlsk Lhan Lhose of dual blologlcal parenL household
• WlLhln faLher-only homes glrls appear Lo be aL hlghesL rlsk, wlLh one sLudy
lndlcaLlng LhaL Lhelr lnhalanL, marl[uana, and ampheLamlne use slgnlflcanLly
exceeded LhaL of daughLers llvlng wlLh slngle moLhers, whereas gender of Lhe
parenL was noL assoclaLed wlLh sons' usage
• When regardlng proLecLlve facLors, faLher communlcaLlon appears Lo reduce rlsk
of marl[uana use ln sons buL noL daughLers

1obacco smok|ng
• 1he smoklng behavlour and aLLlLudes of boLh faLhers and moLhers can lnfluence
Lhe llkellhood of smoklng experlmenLaLlon. 8oLh moLher's and faLher's smoklng
are slgnlflcanL predlcLors of smoklng ln adolescenLs, yeL Lhe probablllLy of ever
smoklng has been reporLed Lo be mosL sLrongly assoclaLed wlLh frequency of
moLhers' smoklng
• MoLhers' smoklng has been parLlcularly llnked Lo glrls
and Lhere ls some
evldence Lo lndlcaLe LhaL faLher-son relaLlonshlps are also slgnlflcanLly llnked
• SLronger effecLs of faLher's smoklng have been found for smoklng lnlLlaLlon
among adolescenL boys, alLhough Lhese effecLs were dependenL on faLher co-

!"#$$% '()*)'+'(, *(! #$%&'%()*+$
ln addlLlon Lo Lhe collecLlve lnfluence of parenLs on chlldren's aLLlLudes Lowards, and
engagemenL wlLh school, Lhere ls a growlng body of evldence abouL Lhe |mportant
contr|but|on fathers can make to the schoo| preparedness and performance of the|r
ch||dren, w|th far reach|ng |mp||cat|ons across the|r deve|opment and |nto

A 2011 llLeraLure revlew lnLo faLherlng and chlld wellbelng noLed LhaL poslLlve faLherlng
conLrlbuLes Lo
• fewer school ad[usLmenL problems
• beLLer academlc progress
• enhanced occupaLlonal achlevemenLs ln adulLhood

Chlldren's poslLlve and negaLlve school ouLcomes have been llnked Lo faLher bellefs (eg.
abouL Leachers), percepLlons, school lnvolvemenL (eg. moLlvaLlon for lnvolvemenL,
faLher-Leacher relaLlonshlp quallLy), efflcacy and chlld aLLachmenL
. AddlLlonally, faLher
absence has been llnked Lo hlgher lncldence of negaLlve ouLcomes such school
suspenslon and expulslon

CLher research has hlghllghLed LhaL paLernal supporL may funcLlon compllmenLarlly wlLh
maLernal supporL, wlLh faLhers parLlcularly assoclaLed wlLh soclal compeLence ln Lhe
school seLLlng whllsL moLhers' more so wlLh academlc compeLence
. 1hls research
furLher lndlcaLes LhaL &'()*+,- ,.""/+( 0'1 2* 0/,( 3+4(43'5 6)*+* 5*7*5, /& 0/()*+
,.""/+( '+* 5/6*+

8esearch also lndlcaLes an lnLergeneraLlonal llnk beLween a faLher and chlld's school
achlevemenLs, whlch ls parLlally aLLrlbuLable Lo a faLher's expecLaLlons of hls chlld's
educaLlonal achlevemenLs
. ln one sLudy faLhers' academlc achlevemenLs and peer
relaLlons aL school were dlrecLly relaLed Lo Lhese same facLors ln Lhelr offsprlng,
regardless of Lhe faLhers' educaLlonal aLLalnmenL, or boLh Lhe faLhers' and Lhe chlldren's
general cognlLlve ablllLles

new paLLerns of work-llfe such as lllC have
creaLed famllles where dads are parL
absenL, parL presenL, buL research lnLo how
Lhls lmpacLs on chlld wellbelng ls only [usL
emerglng ln Lhe publlshed llLeraLure.

A recenL WesL AusLrallan sLudy found LhaL
havlng a 'lllC faLher' was noL a dlscreeL
homogeneous rlsk facLor for chlldren, wlLh
evldence suggesLlng LhaL boys and glrls may
deal dlfferenLly wlLh such faLher absences
Powever, Lhls and anoLher WA sLudy
elevaLed sLress among moLhers ln such
households, whlch 8radbury suggesLs
lndlcaLes ºmoLhers may buffer Lhe sLralns
of regular famlly dlsrupLlon from Lhe oLher
famlly members'
. 1hls supporLs oLher
lnLernaLlonal research wlLh flshermen and
Lruck drlvers whlch found moLhers play a
crlLlcal role ln malnLalnlng Lhe faLher-chlld
connecLlon when faLhers work away
!"#$ #&'($ )"*+,-./ !"#$ &'
!"#$%& (& )( *()#"*# !"#$
!"#$% '$()*(+$,) -,!!"#$

ln Loday's socleLy, many chlldren do noL
llve wlLh Lhelr blologlcal faLher or have
losL Lhelr dad. 1he most cr|t|ca| th|ng |s
that they have the |ove, support and
|nvo|vement of a 'father f|gure' - Lhls
could be a grandparenL, uncle,
nelghbour, coach or famlly frlend.

Chlldren ln famllles wlLhouL any faLher
flgure are more vulnerable Lo poorer
healLh and wellbelng ouLcomes such
school ad[usLmenL problems and poorer
academlc ouLcomes
, and chlldren ln
faLher absenL homes are more llkely Lo
have problems ln emoLlonal and
psychosoclal ad[usLmenL and exhlblL a
varleLy of lnLernallslng and exLernallslng

Close, sLable relaLlonshlps beLween
sLepfaLhers and sLepchlldren, and also
beLween sLepfaLhers and non-resldenL
faLhers are assoclaLed wlLh beLLer
adolescenL wellbelng and ouLcomes
noLed beneflLs lnclude lmproved
grades, hlgher self -efflcacy, fewer
lnLernallslng or exLernallslng
behavlours, and less acLlng ouL ln
. 1he level of closeness and
supporL LhaL sLepfaLhers provlde can
also conLlnue lnLo young adulLhood
even when Lhe chlld has lefL home
ÞarenLs play a plvoLal role ln boLh Lhe rlsk of Lhelr chlld belng a bully, and a vlcLlm of
bullylng, and Lhere ls some evldence Lo lndlcaLe LhaL faLhers and moLhers may lnfluence
bullylng and vlcLlmlsaLlon ln dlsLlncL ways.

ÞarenL-chlld confllcL has been noLed as a poLenL predlcLor of boLh bullylng and
vlcLlmlzaLlon. Low parenL lnvolvemenL or supporL ls also lmpllcaLed ln bullylng, wlLh one
sLudy flndlng LhaL boLh low faLher and low moLher lnvolvemenL conLrlbuLe slgnlflcanLly
and lndependenLly Lo bullylng behavlour ln adolescenLs
. WlLnesslng domesLlc vlolence
and chlld malLreaLmenL are also predlcLors of bullylng
however, chlld malLreaLmenL ls
concurrenLly assoclaLed wlLh vlcLlmlsaLlon Loo
. Plgh levels of chlld dlsclosure
(communlcaLlon wlLh parenLs) are proLecLlve agalnsL bullylng, however poor
communlcaLlon wlLh parenLs conversely predlcLs bullylng beahvlours

When looklng speclflcally aL paLernal lnfluences, an lsraell sLudy found LhaL chlldren of
auLhorlLarlan faLhers Lended Lo assoclaLe more wlLh bully frlends and Lhe hlghesL degrees
of bullylng were demonsLraLed when adolescenLs had auLhorlLaLlve faLhers and valued
power Lhemselves
. AnoLher uS sLudy concluded LhaL wheLher paLernal employmenL ls
full- or overLlme, lf a chlld percelves Lhey do noL spend enough Llme wlLh Lhelr faLher, Lhe
rlsk of bullylng behavlours slgnlflcanLly lncreases

noneLheless, faLhers can also have a poslLlve lmpacL, wlLh resulLs from a uk sLudy
suggesLlng a bufferlng effecL for percelved faLher lnvolvemenL whlch proLecLs Leenage
boys from exLreme vlcLlmlzaLlon
. ÞarenL-chlld communlcaLlon, meeLlng chlldren's
frlends, and encouraglng chlldren academlcally have also assoclaLed wlLh lower bullylng
. lurLhermore, Lhe faLher-chlld relaLlonshlp appears Lo be parLlcularly crlLlcal when
moLher lnvolvemenL ls lower

1here ls a pockeL of research sLemmlng predomlnanLly from Lhe crlmlnology fleld, whlch has looked aL Lhe relaLlonshlp beLween
faLherlng and chlld engagemenL ln dellnquenL behavlours.

laLhers have been hlghllghLed as Lhe mosL crlLlcal flgure ln chlld and adolescenL dellnquency, wlLh one sLudy noLlng LhaL arresLs of Lhe
faLher predlcLed a boy's dellnquency lndependenLly of all oLher arresLed relaLlves
. 1hls ls supporLed by research whlch found LhaL
sons whose faLhers had aL leasL one prlson senLence, had 2.06 Llmes hlgher odds of havlng a crlmlnal convlcLlon Lhan Lhose whose
faLhers had no senLences
. 1hls was even more pronounced for daughLers who were 2.66 Llmes more llkely Lo have a crlmlnal
convlcLlon lf Lhelr faLher had one or more prlson senLences

Iathers can a|so have a protect|ve |nf|uence aga|nst de||nquency and ant|-soc|a| behav|our, wlLh one longlLudlnal sLudy lndlcaLlng
LhaL hlgher non-resldenL faLher lnvolvemenL predlcLed subsequenL decreases ln adolescenL dellnquency, parLlcularly for youLh wlLh
lnlLlal engagemenL ln dellnquenL acLlvlLles
. lL ls lmporLanL Lo noLe LhaL wheLher blologlcally relaLed or noL, co-resldence wlLh a
faLher flgure ls also proLecLlve agalnsL dellnquenL behavlours such as properLy, vlolenL or drug relaLed crlme, and Laklng parL ln a gang
flghLs, parLlcularly ln males

• Plgher levels faLher
lnvolvemenL are assoclaLed
wlLh more poslLlve chlld-
faLher and adolescenL-
faLher relaLlonshlps
whlch are beneflclal Lo boLh
faLher and chlld
• Men who are lnvolved
faLhers are more llkely Lo
feel self-confldenL and
effecLlve as parenLs and Lo
flnd parenLhood more
• laLhers who are lnvolved ln
Lhelr chlldren's llves are
more llkely Lo be more
saLlsfled wlLh llfe, and Lo feel
less psychologlcal dlsLress,
and have greaLer empaLheLlc
undersLandlng of oLhers
• 1here ls some evldence LhaL
men's emoLlonal
lnvolvemenL wlLh Lhelr
chlldren can acL as a buffer
agalnsL work relaLed

!"#$%&'%() &%+,!$ -%!"#$%&'
Much of Lhe research lnLo faLhers' lnfluences on adolescenL sexual behavlour (early or rlsky sexual
acLlvlLy) has focussed on Lhe rlsks assoclaLed wlLh absenL faLhers or negaLlve faLherlng behavlours.

Iather absence ls a crlLlcal conLrlbuLor Lo adolescenL sexual rlsk behavlour ln boLh sons and
daughLers. 8esearch has demonsLraLed Lhe lmporLance of a faLher flgure ln reduclng Lhe rlsk of early
wlLh sons of Leenage faLhers 8 Llmes more llkely Lo become Leen faLhers Lhemselves,
compared wlLh sons of older faLhers
. 1hls ls Lrue of daughLers Loo, and lL has been lndlcaLed LhaL
odds of lncreased sexual rlsk behavlours or Leenage pregnancy are lowesL when faLhers are presenL
LhroughouL chlldhood, are lncreased when faLhers are absenL laLer ln chlldhood, and peak when
faLhers are absenL from an early age
. ln a uS sLudy, daughLers who experlenced early faLher
absence were 2.01 Llmes more llkely Lo engage ln sexual rlsk behavlour and 3.13 Llmes more llkely Lo
have a Leenage pregnancy, whllsL ln new Zealand Lhe odds were 2.14 and 3.19 Llmes hlgher
. Lower monlLorlng (knowlng a chlld's whereabouLs) by faLhers has also been
slgnlflcanLly assoclaLed wlLh early flrsL sexual lnLercourse among glrls, and wlLh noL uslng a condom
durlng lasL lnLercourse among boys

Conversely, father support has been assoclaLed wlLh proLecLlve sexual behavlours such as lncreased
condom use ln adolescenLs, lrrespecLlve of wheLher Lhe Leenager co-reslded wlLh Lhelr faLher
. ln
one sLudy, glrls who had a close relaLlonshlp wlLh Lhelr faLher were found Lo be less llkely Lo reporL a
young age for flrsL sexual lnLercourse, whereas Lhls was noL found for closeness Lo moLhers or for
. AlLhough Leenagers experlence slgnlflcanLly more dlscomforL ln dlscusslng sexual behavlours
wlLh faLhers raLher Lhan moLhers
, lnLervenLlons lnvolvlng faLhers lndlcaLe poslLlve ouLcomes such as
lncreased condom use

1here ls growlng concern abouL Lhe sexuallsaLlon of chlldren ln Lhe medla, and faLhers have been
found Lo have an lmporLanL role Lo play ln how sexual medla soclallses Lhelr daughLers. ln one sLudy,
females whose faLhers ofLen communlcaLed abouL sex wlLh Lhem were found Lo be less llkely Lo
engage ln sexually rlsky behavlours desplLe exposure Lo Lhls sexual medla, whereas Lhe same
lnfluence was noL evldenL for communlcaLlon wlLh moLhers
!"#$%#&'()!!"#$%&' !"# %&'()*!+ !*,)-),!
1he paLernal lnfluence on chlld and adolescenL welghL ls parLlcularly sLrong, wlLh some evldence suggesLlng faLhers are more lnfluenLlal
Lhan moLhers ln chlldhood overwelghL and obeslLy
. A faLher's 8Ml (8ody Mass lndex) has been found Lo predlcLs sons' and daughLers'
8Ml lndependenL of offsprlng's alcohol lnLake, smoklng, physlcal flLness, and faLher's educaLlon
. lL has also been assoclaLed wlLh
physlcal acLlvlLy ln chlldren across varlous developmenLal sLages, from Loddlers Lhrough Lo adolescenLs

ÞaLernal lnfluence has been llnked Lo numerous facLors such as encouragemenL of physlcal acLlvlLy (eg. verbal encouragemenL, paylng
sporLs fees)
, modelllng poslLlve behavlours
and lnfluenclng dleL (eg. resLrlcLlon, provlslon, pressurlng)
. Þlay may also be Lo be an
lmporLanL facLor as unllke moLhers, faLhers Lend Lo bond wlLh chlldren by encouraglng exploraLlon and challenges Lhrough play and
physlcal acLlvlLy
. 1argeLlng faLhers has been effecLlvely used as a novel and efflcaclous approach Lo lmprovlng healLh behavlours ln
Lhelr chlldren

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