ADVANCING RESEARCH, IMPROVING EDUCATION                               

The National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools

Supporting School, Family, and Community Connections to Increase School Success

About the Center

Connection Collection

Annotation from the Connection Collection

You are viewing a record from the Connection Collection, a searchable annotated bibliography database. It links you with research-based information that you can use to connect schools, families, and communities.

Title:Social fathering in low-income, African American families with preschool children
Author:Jayakody, R., & Kalil, A.
Resource Type:Journal Article
Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(2)

pp. 504-516
Education Level:Early Childhood/Pre-K
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of social fathers (a male who demonstrates parental behaviors and is like a father to the child) on cognitive and emotional development of preschool children. Findings suggest that whether a child had a social father depended in part on the level of involvement of his/her biological father. The impact of a social father was dependent of what type of social father the child has. A male relative social father was associated with higher levels of school readiness. However, once home environment was accounted for this relationship is no longer significant. This suggests that a male relative social fatherÕs positive influence is primarily due to his contribution to the home environment. Children who had a social father who was their motherÕs romantic partner had significantly lower levels of personal maturity. Information was collected about the mother (resources), child (demographics), and biological father (demographics and role). Fifty-one% of the children in the study had a social father. Most often the social father was the mother's current partner (31.6%), while other times the social father was a male relative (19.6%). Children were classified into one of three groups: a) no social father, b) social father present (mother's romantic partner), or c) social father present (other than mother's partner). The data for this study came from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-work strategies data which looked at mothers in the JOBS program who had a child between 3 and 5 years old. The total sample size was 790 adults, most of whom were African American, low-income, and single. Limitations of this study include a lack information about the quantity and quality of the relationship between child and social father. In addition it focused only on low-income African American families and only examined one age group. The authors state that policy makers currently emphasize biological fathers and they make the case that policymakers should also look at other men who are important in a childÕs life.

Suggested Citation Style:

Free Webinar Series
The U.S. Department of Education and its partners invite you to view the archive for the webinar, Bringing it All Together: Family and Community Engagement Policies in Action, which took place on November 16, 2011.

This is the ninth and final webinar in the series, Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement.