The Importance of Father Love
AbstractThis article explores the cultural construction of fatherhood in America, as well as the consequences of this construction as a motivator for understudying fathers—especially father love—for nearly a century in developmental and family research. It then reviews evidence from 6 categories of empirical studies showing the powerful influence of fathers' love on children's and young adults' social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning. Much of this evidence suggests that the influence of father love on offspring's development is as great as and occasionally greater than the influence of mother love. Some studies conclude that father love is the sole significant predictor of specific outcomes after controlling for the influence of mother love. Overall, father love appears to be as heavily implicated as mother love in offsprings' psychological well-being and health, as well as in an array of psychological and behavioral problems.