Father's Presence and Young Children's Behavioral and Cognitive Adjustment


fatherhood, cognitive and behavioral adjustment, parenting, parent-child relationships


The present study examined the impact of the biological father on young children's cognitive and behavioral adjustment. Using data from the 1986 Child Supplement of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the relationship between father's coresidence in the household over the first 3 years of a child's life and children's adjustment was assessed for 1,688 four-to six-year-old children. Two dimensions of father-presence were considered, reflecting the timing of the father's entry into the household and the duration of his presence during the child's first 3 years of life. Within-group analyses of variance indicated significant effects of father-presence for White and Hispanic children and for children born to teenage and older mothers. All of these initial effects disappeared, however, once controls for child characteristics, maternal characteristics, and family resources were introduced in multiple regression models. These findings suggest that the father-effects operated through family characteristics and did not represent unique effects of fathering.

Original Publication Citation

Crockett, L. J., Eggebeen, D. J., & Hawkins, A. J. (1993). Father presence and young children's behavioral and cognitive adjustment. Journal of Family Issues, 14, 355-377.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Journal of Family Issues




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor