Poster Title: Impact of Community Violence on Parenting Quality in Fathers with Young Children
Authors: Katrina Markowicz, B. S., Hasti Raveau, M.A., Thomaidha Qipo, Tiffany Szymanski & Erika Bocknek, Ph.D.
The importance of high quality fathering, especially during the early years of child development, has been well established through empirical research (Brown et al. 2007, Easterbrooks & Goldberg, 1984; Schofield et al., 2012). Higher quality of paternal parenting is known to predict positive emotional development and sociocognitive outcomes in young children (Cabrera, Shannon & Tamis-LeMonda, 2007, Kawabata et al., 2009). In addition, research has identified various predictors of fathering quality such as paternal mental health, paternal stress, and paternal experiences with trauma (Kiser & Black, 2005; Smith, 2004). However, research on effects of neighborhood violence, which can be implicated in stress, depression, and trauma, on fathering, especially those with young children, is sparse (McDonell, 2007). The current study, a secondary analysis of the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSREP; Love et al., 2005) and the EHS Fathers Substudy, examined the relationship between paternal reports of community violence and the quality of their fathering during a play task with their 3-year-olds. Participants included 252 ethnically diverse fathers who participated in the study with their toddlers. Findings demonstrate that fathers’ report of lower levels of community violence is a significant predictor of fathers’ positive parenting strategies during play with their toddlers (β = -.14, t = -2.17 p = .031), when controlling for paternal depression. Findings underscore the importance for policy and program practices to improve fathering quality through neighborhood change and create programs that increase paternal coping skills when faced with neighborhood violence.
Authors: Hasti Raveau, Katrina Makowicz, Shaun Frey, Hillary Dorman, & Erika Bocknek
The present study examined the relationship between fathers’ exposure level to neighborhood violence and fathers’ depression symptomology, and whether this relationship is impacted by father-mother relationship quality and fathers’ level of social support. Hayes PROCESS macro was used to conduct moderated mediation analyses to assess the strength of conditional indirect effects at different values of the moderator variable (Model 4 and 14; Hayes, 2013). Neighborhood violence significantly predicted fathers’ depression symptoms, controlling for income, F(2, 533) = 18.55, R2 = .053, p = .000. Negative father-mother relationship significantly mediated the relationship between neighborhood violence and fathers’ depression symptoms, controlling for income, F(3, 532) = 27.59, ΔR2 = .108, p = .000, 95% CI = [.042, .328]. There was a significant interaction between negative father-mother relationship and fathers’ social support in predicting fathers’ depression symptoms. For fathers low on social support (scores 1 SD above the mean), there was a significant relation between negative father-mother relationship and higher depressive symptoms (B = .179, SE = .090, 95% CI = [.026 , .384], t = 3.088, p = .002). Results stress the importance of social support and father-mother relationship quality for mental health of fathers experiencing neighborhood violence. Health care providers should implement resources for such fathers that allow them to strengthen their social support in order to reduce their risk of depression.
Authors: Hasti Raveau, M.S. Erika Bocknek, Ph.D., Hiram Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Holly Brophy-Hern, Ph.D., & Carolyn Dayton, Ph.D.
Scholarship regarding the importance of fathers in early development has grown significantly in recent years (for review, see McWayne et al., 2013), particularly investigating racial differences among low-income populations (Bocknek et al., 2014; Cabrera et al., 2008). Research has identified African American fathers to have higher rates of unemployment, lower father involvement, and higher multi-partner fertility: factors associated with elevated symptoms of psychopathology and negative parenting outcomes (Black, Dubowitz, & Starr, 1999; Cabrera & Tamis-LeMonda, 2013). Greater research is needed on distinctions within African Americans that impact father-child dynamics, and mechanistic processes, that may point to parenting and family resilience. The current study is a secondary analysis of the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSREP; Love et al., 2005) on positive parenting among African American fathers (N=153). Findings indicated African American fathers are at greater risk for stress than Hispanic fathers and Caucasian fathers: they were more likely to have witnessed violence in their neighborhood (F=22.63, p=.000), been a victim of a violent act (F=2.82,p=.039), lost a loved one (F=10.63, p=.000), and had relationship difficulties with romantic partners (F=2.96, p=.032). In addition, these men had the highest rates of depression (F=4.81, p=.003). In order to identify factors that might support early relationships in the face of significant risk, we investigated men’s perceptions about the fathering role as a potential source of resilience. Research has suggested that African American men may be more likely than other men to parent in egalitarian ways (Hunter & Sellers, 1998). However, few empirical data demonstrates whether or not shared role structure in African American families contributes to improved parenting among men. We sought to understand this construct via a subset of African American fathers in our sample (N=54) who participated in an observed task with their 36-month-old children in which father-child dyads worked to assemble a challenging puzzle. Parenting behaviors were coded from video recordings of the interactions. The current analysis focused on parental warmth, a construct combining sensitivity and positive regard, that is predictive of positive social-emotional outcomes for children (Trautman-Villalba et al., 2006) and is culturally relevant within African American families (McLoyd & Smith, 2002). In addition, fathers indicated their level of agreement with 14 questions about the role of fathering using a Likert-type scale. Items included, “It is as important for a father/father figure to meet a baby’s psychological needs as it is for the mother to do so.” These items comprised a fathering-role scale (α=.72) and significantly predicted fathers’ positive parenting behaviors, controlling for paternal antisocial behaviors, paternal depression, fathers’ marital status, and children’s aggression, (F=3.25, p=.02, ΔR2=.15; β=.32, p=.02). The relationship between the fathering-role scale and father’s positive parenting behaviors were not replicated among Caucasian or Hispanic fathers (p>.05). Findings underscore the importance of interventions evaluating and improving African American men’s perceptions of their role as fathers as a method to improve the quality of fathering during early years of child development.