Although there is a well-established connection between father involvement and children’s positive behavioral development in general, this relation has been understudied in more vulnerable and high-risk populations. The aims of this study were to examine how the quantity (i.e., the amount of shared activities) and quality (i.e., perceived quality of the father-child relationship) of father involvement are differently related to internalizing and externalizing behavior problems among preadolescents at risk of maltreatment and test if these associations are moderated by father type and child maltreatment. A secondary data analysis was conducted using data from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). Generalized estimating equations analysis was performed on a sample of 499 preadolescents aged 12 years. The results indicated that higher quality of father involvement was associated with lower levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems whereas greater quantity of father involvement was associated with higher levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. The positive association between the quantity of father involvement and behavior problems was stronger in adolescents who were physically abused by their father. The association between father involvement and behavior problems did not differ by the type of father co-residing in the home. The findings suggest that policies and interventions aimed at improving the quality of fathers’ relationships and involvement with their children may be helpful in reducing behavior problems in adolescents at risk of maltreatment.
- Child maltreatment
- Externalizing behavior problems
- Father involvement
- Father type
- Internalizing behavior problems