The effect of Head Start on mother and father involvement Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/jw827h496

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  • Past research on Head Start has focused on child outcomes, yet Head Start services also target the behaviors of parents. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (FFCW), the current study examined the effect of Head Start on mother (n = 3,575) and father (n = 1,812) involvement in activities at home with children. The first four waves of FFCW data followed children and their parents from birth to age five. FFCW data included families from low- to middle-income backgrounds allowing direct comparisons in this study between very low-income families whose children were eligible for Head Start to more advantaged families whose children were not. Using scales of parental involvement in at-home activities with children, mothers and fathers of Head Start students were compared to mothers and fathers of children in parent care, daycare, pre-kindergarten and preschool. A two-step analytic process was used (a) to establish that average levels of parent involvement varied significantly across childcare setting groups at each of the three waves, and (b) to control for known background characteristics and previous parent involvement while predicting post-intervention parent involvement. In the first step, analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed significant differences between mothers of Head Start children and mothers of children in other childcare categories before Head Start entry, and revealed positive effects of Head Start on mother involvement after program exit. In the second step, Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression further controlled background characteristics that have predicted mother involvement in previous literature. The OLS results supported the ANOVA finding that Head Start positively influenced mother involvement. Although ANOVA and OLS regression results suggested that Head Start did not affect the involvement of fathers, results indicated that the level of father involvement when the child was one year old predicted involvement when the child was five years old, even after controlling for whether fathers lived with the child. A post-hoc Structural Equation Model (SEM) further examined the effect of fathers' involvement and co-residence in years one and three on involvement at year five. Fathers who reported high levels of involvement in daily activities when children were very young maintained high levels as children moved through preschool and into kindergarten. Efforts to engage fathers early on in the daily lives of their children may bring cumulative dividends for both father and child through his continued involvement as the child grows older, even - and perhaps especially - when the father no longer lives with the child.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2014-07-10T18:22:06Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 HarmonBethanyJ2014.pdf: 863402 bytes, checksum: 1aecb5bc132c7559e82b37433ffdeeba (MD5)
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