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Systematic Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02405

Father involvement and Cognitive Development in Early and Middle Childhood: A Systematic Review

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Italy

This systematic review aims to examine the existing literature concerning the association between father involvement and the development children’s cognitive skills during early and middle childhood. Specifically, it analyzes: (1) how the number of researches developed across years; (2) which are the main socio-demographic characteristics of the samples; (3) which are the main focuses examined; and (4) which operational definitions were used to assess father involvement and children cognitive skills. Following the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement, the articles were searched through PubMed and EBSCO (PsycInfo, PsycArticles, Education Source, Social Sciences Abstract, Family Studies Abstracts, Gender Studies Database and CINAHL complete). The findings suggest that, although each research used a different operational definition of the father involvement construct, in recent years there was a wide and constant interest increase about this issue. Most of the empirical studies utilized quantitative methods, whereas relatively few used qualitative and only one mixed methods. As regards the analysis of socio-demographic characteristics of the samples there is a great evidence that most of them included biological and residential fathers: it may reflect that this type of sample is easier to recruit than non-residential and non-biological fathers. Regarding the socio-economic status and the ethnicity of families, the data highlighted how in recent years the literature on father involvement is starting to look at differences in ethnic and cultural backgrounds, in contrast to past researches. The findings revealed that the main focus is the impact of father involvement on children’s cognitive skills and the most of the studies highlighted that it is positive and statistically significant. Regarding to the assessment of father involvement and children’s cognitive skills, the literature is quite heterogeneous.

Keywords: Fathers, fathers involvement, cognitive skills, Learning, Parenting

Received: 09 Apr 2019; Accepted: 09 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Rollè, Gullotta, Trombetta, Curti, Gerino, Brustia and Caldarera. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Giulia Gullotta, Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, 10124, Piedmont, Italy,