Saturday, February 23, 2008

Children who have an active father figure have fewer psychological and behavioral problems

From ScienceDaily, a study by Swedish researchers (of course, if they'd read their Bibles, they'd already know this, but I suppose it never hurts to get clarification!) [boldface mine]:

Active father figures have a key role to play in reducing behaviour problems in boys and psychological problems in young women, according to a review published in the February issue of Acta Paediatrica.

Swedish researchers also found that regular positive contact reduces criminal behaviour among children in low-income families and enhances cognitive skills like intelligence, reasoning and language development.

Children who lived with both a mother and father figure also had less behavioural problems than those who just lived with their mother.

The researchers are urging healthcare professionals to increase fathers' involvement in their children's healthcare and calling on policy makers to ensure that fathers have the chance to play an active role in their upbringing.

The review looked at 24 papers published between 1987 and 2007, covering 22,300 individual sets of data from 16 studies. 18 of the 24 papers also covered the social economic status of the families studied.

The smallest study focused on 17 infants and the largest covered 8,441 individuals ranging from premature babies to 33 year-olds. They included major ongoing research from the USA and UK, together with smaller studies from Sweden and Israel.

"Our detailed 20-year review shows that overall, children reap positive benefits if they have active and regular engagement with a father figure" says Dr Anna Sarkadi from the Department of Women's and Children's Health at Uppsala University, Sweden.

"For example, we found various studies that showed that children who had positively involved father figures were less likely to smoke and get into trouble with the police, achieved better levels of education and developed good friendships with children of both sexes.

"Long-term benefits included women who had better relationships with partners and a greater sense of mental and physical well-being at the age of 33 if they had a good relationship with their father at 16."

However the authors point out that it is not possible to conclude what type of engagement the father figure needs to provide to produce positive effects.

"The studies show that it can range from talking and sharing activities to playing an active role in the child's day-to-day care."

The researchers believe that more research is needed to determine whether the outcomes are different depending on whether the child lives with their biological father or with another father figure.

"However, our review backs up the intuitive assumption that engaged biological fathers or father figures are good for children, especially when the children are socially or economically disadvantaged" says Dr Sarkadi. . .

Read it all.

3 comments:

Judith L said...

Duh. And the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.

Anne Coletta said...

I just wonder how much money they wasted on this study!

David Turney said...

Another "hear me now, believe me later" article along the same lines as this study, but more about the dangers to single-parent children.
http://sandiegoanglicans.com/cms/blogentry/davidturney/2007/11/17/317