Early Education & Development
Research Findings: In the present meta-analysis, information from 21 studies (representing 22 separate samples) was pooled across a 10-year period (1998-2008). Across 2 primary dimensions of direct father involvement (frequency of positive engagement activities and aspects of parenting quality) and 5 dimensions of children's early learning (representing social and cognitive domains), findings revealed small to moderate associations. Among group differences tested to further explain the relationships between these constructs, residential status and the ethnic/racial identification of fathers' surfaced as significant moderators, whereas income status was only meaningful at the trend level. Practice or Policy: In recent years, national attention has increased concerning the important influence of fathers on children's development. Concurrently, national interest has turned to the early childhood period as marking a major transition for young children, during which children are confronted with new and diverse developmental challenges that require emotional, social, and cognitive competence across their home and school environments. Although there is a growing body of research on fatherhood and father involvement, this literature has not been examined systematically to determine the strength of associations between specific dimensions of father involvement and young children's early learning that could inform the efforts of early childhood practitioners and family engagement programming decisions. (Author abstract)
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