Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000 Feb;154(2):135-41.

Fathers and child neglect.

Author information

Department of Paediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21291, USA.



To examine the association between father involvement and child neglect.


Cohort study.


Participants were recruited from an inner-city pediatric primary care clinic and a clinic for children at risk for human immunodeficiency virus infection in a teaching hospital.


Mothers and fathers or father figures, and 244 five-year olds participating in a longitudinal study.


Child neglect measured via home observation, a videotaped mother-child interaction, and child protective services reports.


A father or father figure was identified for 72% of the children. Rates of neglect ranged between 11% and 30%. Father absence alone was not associated with neglect. However, in families with an identified and interviewed father, a longer duration of involvement (P<.01), a greater sense of parenting efficacy (P<.01), more involvement with household tasks (P<.05), and less involvement with child care (P<.05) were associated with less neglect. The overall model explained 26.5% of the variance in neglect.


There is substantial involvement of fathers in a subset of this high-risk sample, although more than a quarter of the children lacked a father or father figure. The mere presence of a father did not significantly influence the neglect of the children; rather, the nature of his involvement did. Fathers who felt more effective as parents were less likely to have neglected their children. A greater sense of efficacy may reflect parenting skills and be important in enhancing the contribution of fathers to their children's well-being. Pediatric health care providers can play a valuable role in enhancing the involvement and skills of fathers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center