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: 6.35). 05/2008; 47(4):406-15. DOI: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e3181642979
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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