Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Social Work

Additional Affiliations

Brown School of Social Work

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Despite the growing evidence highlighting the relationship between positive father behaviors and child development, fathers still receive less research attention than mothers. As a result, little is known about the direct effects of positive father involvement on child neglect risk and child well-being. This dissertation study used data from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) and applied longitudinal structural equation modeling to examine the role of father involvement in the reduction of neglect risk and adverse child outcomes among low-income families. The specific aims guiding this dissertation study are (1) to test the direct and indirect relationships between father involvement and child well-being among low-income families at risk for neglect; (2) Examine the moderated effect of father type on the relationship between father involvement and child well-being over time. A significant pathway was found between father involvement at Wave 1 and family functioning (home environment) at Wave 2, and home environment at Wave 2 and child well-being (child behavioral health) at Wave 3, after accounting for home environment and child behavior in previous waves. These findings suggest that fathers may have an indirect effect on child behavioral development by way of increases in family expressiveness and cohesion. The dissertation study addresses father factors, child neglect risk, and child developmental issues related to underserved and understudied populations (e.g., low-income families and fathers). Understanding these relationships sets the stage for the development and implementation of evidence-based child mental health programs that include fathers as a protective factor.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Patricia L. Kohl

Committee Members

Patrick J. Fowler, Shenyang Guo, Melissa Jonson-Reid, Shannon R. Self-Brown,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7N58JT8