Father involvement in Indian & White British families

15 April 2005

Father’s Involvement and Psychological Adjustment in Indian and White British Secondary School Age Children

by Eirini Flouri1

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Volume 10, No. 1, 2005, pp. 32–39


The study aimed to explore the relationship between father’s involvement and psychological adjustment in Indian2 and White British secondary school age children.


Psychological adjustment in the 360 White British and 222 Indian children of the study was measured with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). All children lived in biological two-parent families and attended the same secondary school in South England.


Indian girls and White British girls reported similar levels of adjustment – and similar levels of father’s involvement. Among the boys, Indian boys reported both lower total difficulties scores and higher prosocial behaviour scores than White British boys – as well as higher levels of father’s involvement. Multiple regression analyses showed that even after controlling for age, sibship size, family’s socio-economic status, and inter-parental conflict, father’s involvement was positively associated with prosocial behaviour in both genders in both ethnic groups: that is, the greater the involvement, the more positive and sociable was the boys’ and girls’ behaviour. Father’s involvement was not related to Indian boys’ or girls’ ‘difficulties’. However, in White British boys the lower the father’s involvement, the more likely the White British boys were to experience problems relating to their peers. In White British girls, low father involvement was linked to behaviour and peer-group problems – and to ‘total difficulties’.
Conclusions: There would be merit in future studies extending our knowledge about differences in the relationship between father’s involvement and child outcomes.

(1) Dr Eirini Flouri is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research into Parenting and Children, Lecturer in Statistics at St Hilda’s College, and Research Fellow at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Oxford. She has published in the area of economic, developmental and clinical psychology. Her current interests include parenting and long-term psychological, educational, economic and social outcomes in children, and children’s resiliency and psychological well-being. Dr Flouri is the author of Fathering and Child Outcomes (Wiley, 2005) email: cs-books@wiley.co.uk
(2) The families’ ethnicity was identified in the Census. It is estimated that around 20% of British families identifying as Indian follow the Muslim faith