Volume 74, Issue 2 p. 141-153

Early father's and mother's involvement and child's later educational outcomes

Eirini Flouri

Corresponding Author

Eirini Flouri

Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford, UK

Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford, Barnett House, 32 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2ER, UK (e-mail: [email protected]).Search for more papers by this author
Ann Buchanan

Ann Buchanan

Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford, UK

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 16 December 2010
Citations: 244

Abstract

Background: Few studies have investigated the individual long-term contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children's schooling.

Aims: (1) To explore the role of early father involvement in children's later educational attainment independently of the role of early mother involvement and other confounds, (2) to investigate whether gender and family structure moderate the relationship between father's and mother's involvement and child's educational attainment, and (3) to explore whether the impact of father's involvement depends on the level of mother's involvement.

Sample: The study used longitudinal data from the National Child Development Study. The initial sample were those 7,259 cohort members with valid data on mother involvement at age 7, father involvement at age 7, and school-leaving qualification by age 20. Of those, 3,303 were included in the final analysis.

Method: The measures were control variables, structural factors (family structure, sibship size and residential mobility), child factors (emotional/behavioural problems, cognitive ability and academic motivation), and father's and mother's involvement.

Results: Father involvement and mother involvement at age 7 independently predicted educational attainment by age 20. The association between parents' involvement and educational attainment was not stronger for sons than for daughters. Father involvement was not more important for educational attainment when mother involvement was low rather than high. Not growing up in intact two-parent family did not weaken the association between father's or mother's involvement and educational outcomes.

Conclusion: Early father involvement can be another protective factor in counteracting risk conditions that might lead to later low attainment levels.