A longitudinal study of father involvement in their children's schooling

Year: 2012

Author: Wu, Pi-Ju

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


The important roles fathers play in their children's development and school success have been acknowledged by policy makers, educators, and researchers. The significant effects of fathers involvement in their children's learning include modeling adult male behavior, promoting positive moral values, encouraging confidence in problem solving abilities, providing financial and emotional support, and enhancing student performance. Although the number of studies on father involvement increases steadily and the results of these studies help to understand father involvement in their children's life in general, it is unclear whether levels of involvement by individual fathers in their children's schooling change over time. The amount of longitudinal studies on father involvement is few comparing to those using cross-sectional research designs. Many of the longitudinal studies on father involvement analyzed data from large sample-sized databases, for example, the National Child Development Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and the Taiwan Education Panel Survey (TEPS). However, the sample of the TEPS included students and their parents and teachers in grades 7-12 and junior colleges and the items related to parent involvement in the TEPS questionnaires were not quite complete. The purpose of this study was to investigate in depth the change of Taiwanese father involvement in their children's education from kindergarten to grade 12.

An accelerated longitudinal design was used in the study. Fathers of seven different grade-level student cohorts (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 10th graders in academic year 2003 and kindergarteners in academic year 2004) were sampled. Longitudinal data on members of each cohort were collected over 4 or 5 semesters during academic years 2003-2005. The sample included 462 fathers who provided data at more than two points in time. A 27-item 5-point scale was used to measure three types of father involvement (Home-Based Involvement, School/Community-Based Involvement, and Parent-Teacher Communication). The two-level hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) with repeated observations nested within research subjects was utilized to analyze data.

The results indicated that fathers used more home-based involvement than the other types of involvement after their children went to kindergarten at the fall semester and that fathers' home-based involvement decreased at each semester. Fathers' parental self-efficacy could positively predict the extent of three types of involvement and their perceptions of their children's academic performance could negatively predict the extent of their school/community-based involvement. Child gender could not significantly predict the average initial statuses and change rates of three types of father involvement.