Parental investment in childhood and later adult well-being: can more involved parents offset the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage?
Parental involvement in their children’s lives can have a lasting impact on well-being. More involved parents convey to their children that they are interested in their development, and this in turn signals to the child that their future is valued. However, what happens in socio-economically disadvantaged homes? Can the social capital produced by greater parental involvement counteract some of the harmful effects of less financial capital? These questions are examined on the National Child Development Study; a longitudinal study of children born in Britain in 1958. Results on a sample of children raised in two parent families suggest that parental involvement does matter, but that it depends on when it and poverty are measured, as well as the type of involvement and the gender of the parent. Father interest in education has the strongest impact on earlier poverty, especially at age 11. Meanwhile, both father and mother interest in school at age 16 have the largest direct impact on education. The frequency of outings with mother at age 11 also has a larger direct impact on education than outings with father, however, neither compare with the reduction in the poverty effect as a result of father interest in school.
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