• Stephen D. Whitney University of Missouri
  • Sara Prewett University of Missouri
  • Ze Wang University of Missouri
  • Haiqin Chen American Dental Association
Keywords: father type, father involvement, adolescents, academic achievement, school failure


Many studies have investigated mothers’ impact on students’ achievement, yet little is known about how various father types impact students’ school performance. This study examines 6 mutually exclusive categories of father type: resident biological fathers, resident stepfathers, resident adoptive fathers, non­resident biological fathers, unknown biological fathers, and deceased fathers. Adolescents’ school performance from seventh through twelfth grade is examined using data from 3 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative United States secondary data source. Findings indicate different types of fathers have distinct and independent positive associations with adolescents’ school achievement, after controlling for mother involvement. Adolescents with resident biological fathers had higher school performance than adolescents with nonresident fathers. Adolescents with stepfathers had higher rates of school failure than their peers living with their biological parents. The lowest achievement and the highest risk of school failure and course failure were experienced by those adolescents who did not have a resident father figure and didn’t know the identity of their fathers. Implications include the need to model for the unique influence of father involvement and father type on academic achievement, and the inclusion of unique family contexts in efforts to increase adolescents’ school involvement and integration.


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Author Biographies

Stephen D. Whitney, University of Missouri
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology
Sara Prewett, University of Missouri
Postdoctoral Fellow, Educational, School and Counseling Psychology
Ze Wang, University of Missouri
Associate Professor, Educational, School and Counseling Psychology
Haiqin Chen, American Dental Association
Associate Psychometrician
How to Cite
Whitney, S. D., Prewett, S., Wang, Z., & Chen, H. (2018). FATHERS’ IMPORTANCE IN ADOLESCENTS’ ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 8(3/4), 101-126. https://doi.org/10.18357/ijcyfs83/4201718073