Paternal Typologies and Internalizing Behaviors in African American Youth Living in Urban Public Housing: A Discriminate Analysis Across Latent Classes of Father
Since its inception research on children and families living in public housing has focused exclusively on single mothers, adolescents and children. With few exceptions, this body of research has moved forward with a practical exclusion of fathers and a focus on the important role that fathers may play in the lives of their children. The near exclusion of fathers in public housing research is likely due to official housing data, which suggest that fathers are not present or involved. However, self-report data from children in public housing suggest that fathers are present in more than half of these households. Notwithstanding the reason, failing to assess the role that fathers play in the lives of their children in public housing leaves a gap in knowledge in this area of research. To help rectify this gap in knowledge, this paper is focused on father’s behaviors (i.e., supervision and encouragement) and the role it may play in adolescents’ internalized behavior (i.e., self-efficacy, depressive symptoms and attitudes toward deviance).
The sample included 660 African American youth recruited from public housing developments in three large U.S. cities. Twenty five index cases were identified, and then Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) was employed to recruit the sample. The primary analytic procedures were: 1) a Latent Profile Analysis to identify father types, 2) a One-Way ANOVA to compare means across father types, and 3) a Discriminant Analysis (DA), to classify youth based on father typologies and youths’ internalized behaviors.
The mean age of youth in the sample was 15.38 years of age (SD = 2.4 years). Female and male participants were of equal age. Based on youths’ perceptions of their fathers’ supervision and encouragement, the LPA model identified four father types (i.e., high supervision / high support; high supervision / moderate support; moderate supervision / moderate support; and low-supervision / low-support). Each model is estimated using 50 random starts and 10 iterations. Overall, the four-class solution exhibits the best fit with respect to BIC values. The one-way ANOVA results showed significant differences in adolescents’ self-efficacy, depressive symptoms and attitude toward deviance across father types, with fathers in the high / high class being associated with better internalized behaviors. Results from the DA, indicate that youth can be successfully classified into father type based on their self-efficacy, depressive symptoms and attitude toward deviance. Further, DA results indicate that youth were significantly differentiated based upon two discriminant functions (i.e., attitudes towards deviance (.645) and depressive symptoms (-.639) in function one; and self-efficacy (-.560) and gender (.490) in function two).
Conclusions and Implications
The results of this analysis suggest that father type plays a critical role in both classifying youth by their internalized behaviors and their latent functioning. Father focused programs should be design to promote greater paternal supervision and support. Further implications to practice are discussed.