How fathers influence their adolescents’ self-esteem: A longitudinal assessment

Hull, James W., Jr.
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University of Delaware
This study used data from the first two collection intervals of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to investigate whether various dimensions of fathering were able to predict adolescent self-esteem a year later. Fathering was separated into five distinct dimensions or categories: availability, engagement, verbal involvement, school involvement, and relationship quality. This study also looked at whether baseline levels of the five fathering variables could predict their corresponding levels a year later. Finally, this study examined whether an adolescent’s self-esteem level at baseline is able to predict self-esteem level a year later. The results demonstrated that baseline levels of all five fathering variables and adolescent baseline self-esteem level predicts self-esteem level a year later. Furthermore, four of the five fathering variables (all but verbal involvement) provided a statistically significant prediction of adolescent self-esteem a year later. Of the four statistically-significant fathering variables, relationship quality provided the strongest relationship. This finding suggests that while behavioral measures of involvement such as engagement and availability do provide significant, albeit small contributions to adolescent self-esteem, an adolescent’s unique perception of their fathers’ involvement (relationship quality) may be a stronger predictor of their self-esteem.