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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fathers count

Maggie Gallagher, writing yesterday:

Back when he was mayor, Rudy Giuliani made a very good point: "75 percent of adolescents charged with murder grew up without fathers. ... "(I)f you wanted a social program that would really save these kids ... I guess the social program would be called fatherhood."
That column was more about blended families and Giuliani’s family situation than about fatherhood in general, but it went right along with this study I saw today: “Reciprocal Longitudinal Relations Between Nonresident Father Involvement and Adolescent Delinquency.”

An excerpt of the abstract (emphasis added)

Autoregressive and fixed effects models found that higher nonresident father involvement predicted subsequent decreases in adolescent delinquency, particularly for youth with initial engagement in delinquent activities.
And I thought, well, duh. And then I saw this part:

As adolescent delinquency increased, so too did father involvement, suggesting that nonresident fathers may increase their involvement in the face of adolescent problem behavior, with this pattern driven primarily by African American families.
That sounds like good news, and at odds with the usual wisdom. I wonder how true it is? And under what circumstances?

Sorry, I didn’t read the whole study. I know. Bad blogger. Bad. But come on, that was the abstract, and it was barely comprehensible.