Independent effects of paternal involvement and maternal mental illness on child outcomes

Paula Allen-Meares, Juliane Blazevski, Deborah Bybee, Daphna Oyserman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research suggests that serious maternal mental illness is associated with adverse youth outcomes. However, this research is of limited ability to inform appropriate social work and social policy responses for at least two reasons. First, it is based on samples that are not racially or ethnically diverse and that do not target low-income families; second, it does not examine whether differences in the level of father involvement or the severity of maternal mental illness matter. This study involves a low-income, racially and ethnically diverse sample of mothers with a serious mental illness and their 11-18-year-old childrenand examines parent effects on youths. Fathers were in contact but mostly were not livein parents. Structural equation modeling yields three key results: better maternal functioning and more paternal involvement predict better academic outcomes; less paternal involvement and more maternal health problems predict higher youth-reported affiliative skills; and more paternal involvement predicts less youth-reported problem behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-127
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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