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The quality of father-child interactions has become a focus of increasing research in the field of child development. We examined the potential contribution of father-child interactions at both 3 months and 24 months to children's cognitive development at 24 months. Observational measures of father-child interactions at 3 and 24 months were used to assess the quality of fathers' parenting (n = 192). At 24 months, the Mental Developmental Index (MDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition (N. Bayley, ) measured cognitive functioning. The association between interactions and cognitive development was examined using multiple linear regression analyses, adjusting for paternal age, education and depression, infant age, and maternal sensitivity. Children whose fathers displayed more withdrawn and depressive behaviors in father-infant interactions at 3 months scored lower on the MDI at 24 months. At 24 months, children whose fathers were more engaged and sensitive as well as those whose fathers were less controlling in their interactions scored higher on the MDI. These findings were independent of the effects of maternal sensitivity. Results indicate that father-child interactions, even from a very young age (i.e., 3 months) may influence children's cognitive development. They highlight the potential significance of interventions to promote positive parenting by fathers and policies that encourage fathers to spend more time with their young children.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/imhj.21642

Type

Journal article

Journal

Infant Ment Health J

Publication Date

05/2017

Volume

38

Pages

378 - 390

Keywords

Kinderentwicklung, Vater-Säugling-Interaktionen, Väter-Kind-Interaktionen, child development, cognitive development, crianza temprana, desarrollo cognitivo, desarrollo del niño, développement cognitif, développement de l'enfant, early parenting, father-child interactions, father-infant interactions, frühe Elternschaft, interacciones papá-infante, interacciones papá-niño, interactions père-bébé, interactions père-enfant, kognitive Entwicklung, parentage précoce, 兒童發育, 早期育兒, 父子互動, 父親と子どもの相互交流、認知 発達、早期の育児、子どもの発達, 認知發育