Fathers' influence on the development of children in disadvantaged settings

Alan B. Feranil, University of San Carlos

Studies on the influence of fathers on child development have been limited. Very little is known particularly in developing societies where mothers play a major role in childbearing and childrearing. Using the information from the 2005 Early Childhood Development Project conducted in disadvantaged villages in Central Philippines, I explored the influence of paternal characteristics on the cognitive development of 1,067 pre-school children. The findings showed that fewer fathers were involved in childrearing activities. Father’s education and fathers’ taking children to school were associated with the cognitive development of preschool children even when other household factors were accounted for. However, fathers no longer had any significant influence in the cognitive development of children when maternal characteristics and mothers’ interactions with their children were considered. Results revealed that in developing societies, where childrearing is perceived as a mother’s role, fathers had minimal influence.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility, family and children