Methods: Data and Sample: An analytic sample of 913 girls between the ages of 9-10 at the 9-year follow-up wave was drawn from the longitudinal birth cohort Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study.
Measure: Paternal involvement measures were assessed by asking fathers “how often in the past month” they helped their child with homework/school assignments, watched tv/videos, participated in indoor activities, and talked with child about their day. Likert scale responses included, 0 “not in the past month”, 1 “1-2 times past month”, 2 “once a week”, 3 “several times a week”, and 4 “everyday”. Due to the skewed distribution of the data variables were dichotomously recoded: “not in the past month” and “1-2 times in past month” as 0 and all other responses as 1. Social bullying victimization was measured by child’s self-reports of how often in the past month they were excluded, “purposely left out of activities” in school/neighborhood using a 5-point Likert response format ranging from 0 “not once in the past month” to 4 “everyday”. Responses were dichotomously recoded: never (0) and yes (1) socially bullied. Father’s poverty level, education, and physical bullying (yes/no) were included as covariates.
Results: Binary logistic regression model showed that fathers who watched tv/videos several times to everyday a week compared to fathers who did not is associated with a 63.6% decrease in the likelihood of their daughters being socially bullied (OR =.636; p <.05). Interestingly, fathers helping with homework, participating in indoor activities, and talking daily with daughters was not significant (p. > .05). Regarding covariates, only physical bullying was statistically significant; girls who were physically bullied compared to their non-bullied counterparts were also 4.4 times more likely to be socially bullied (OR= 4.43 p <.001). The model explains 11.2% of the variance in social bullying victimization [R2 =.112, p. <.001], and overall predicts 72.7% of the responses correctly.
Conclusion and Implications: Our findings highlight the important role of fathers’ involvement in safeguarding their daughter’s healthy development. Implications from this study encourage child anti-bullying strategies and prevention efforts to include fathers and gender-specific messaging into their design, with a core focus on strengthening positive father-daughter interaction.