The Interplay Between Early Father Involvement and Neonatal Medical Risk in the Prediction of Infant Neurodevelopment

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Abstract

The current study examines the association between early father involvement and infant neurodevelopment, and whether neonatal medical risk moderates this association. Data from approximately 6000 fathers and their children were obtained from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). Hierarchical regression was employed to analyze the data. The findings reveal that the association between early father involvement and infant neurodevelopment is contingent on both the timing of involvement (i.e., prenatal/perinatal or infancy) and offspring medical status at birth. The neurodevelopment of medically at-risk neonates was enhanced when fathers were involved during the gestational period and at the time of their birth. This relationship was not detected, however, in the case of infants who did not experience medical risks as neonates. Neonatal medical risk appears to be an important moderating factor in the link between father involvement during pregnancy and childbirth and infant neurodevelopment. Practitioners should continue to make efforts to involve fathers during gestation and childbirth. The findings of the present study suggest that doing so may protect against neurodevelopmental delays in neonates with medical risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-115
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Fathers
  • Infancy
  • Medical risk
  • Prenatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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