Father-Child Transmission of Antisocial Behavior: The Moderating Role of Father's Presence in the Home

Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.26). 05/2008; 47(4):406-15. DOI: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e3181642979
Source: PubMed


To demonstrate an environmental effect of being raised by an antisocial father and to test whether the transmission of antisocial behavior from father to child is moderated by the father's presence in the home.
A community sample of male and female 11- and 17-year-old twins and their biological parents participating in the Minnesota Twin Family Study was used. A series of hierarchical linear regression models was used to examine the relationship between father antisociality and his children's externalizing psychopathology and to determine whether the father's time spent in the home moderated this relationship. Models controlled for the child's sex.
A significant main effect of both father's antisociality and father's presence on the children's externalizing psychopathology was found: Children born to antisocial fathers evidenced higher rates of externalizing behavior, and children raised without their biological father in the home exhibited more externalizing behaviors. The interaction was also significant such that the association between father and child antisociality was stronger when the father was present for a longer period of the child's life. Furthermore, when fathers show high levels of antisociality, fathers' presence appears to have deleterious rather than beneficial effects on child behavior.
The present results suggest the transmission of antisociality from father to child is at least partially environmentally moderated.

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    • "lvement a priority . On the other hand , a particular challenge which may lead some programs , implementing sites , or providers to resist further father engagement relates to justifiable concerns about the possible dam - aging effects to children by facilitating the engagement of fathers who are antisocial or engage in intimate partner violence ( Blazei et al . , 2008 ; Duggan et al . , 2004 ) ."
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    • "Findings from this study are consistent with previous research that shows that the psychosocial functioning of children is negatively impacted in homes where interparental aggression is present, and where fathers exhibit antisocial personality traits and/or interpersonal hostility (Blazei et al. 2008; Buehler et al. 1997; Low and Stocker 2005). As such, these findings support informing men mandated to BIPs about how their children can suffer negative consequences as a result of their behavior. "
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    • "Yet, many of these studies have focused on father–child transmission (e.g. Blazei et al. 2008). Thornberry et al. (2003) investigated the influence of both mother and father antisociality on offspring's behavior, finding that antisocial behavior plays a more central role in the model for fathers than for mothers. "
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