Pathways from Father Engagement during Infancy to Child Aggression in Late Childhood

Xiafei Wang, Qiong Wu, Susan Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Child aggression and its dire consequences cause social problems. Informed by family systems theory and parenting stress theory, this study specifically examined the mediating pathways from father engagement to child aggression through maternal parenting stress, child resistant attachment, and maternal physical abuse. We conducted a secondary data analysis on 2016 mother–child dyads from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study by building structural equation models. We found indirect effects of father engagement on child aggression through influencing mothers’ parenting stress. Children’s attachment and mothers’ physical abuse mediated the effects of mothers’ stress on child behavior-based aggression and verbal- and mood-based aggression. Interventions should target fostering fathers’ engagement, alleviating mothers’ parenting stress and changing mothers’ abusive parenting, and improving mother–child attachment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-617
Number of pages13
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Child aggression
  • Father engagement
  • Maternal parenting stress
  • Maternal physical abuse
  • Resistant attachment


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