WASHINGTON—College students with fathers who were involved in their lives were 98 percent more likely to graduate than students with uninvolved fathers. This was one of the findings presented Wednesday by W. Bradford Wilcox at an American Enterprise Institute presentation, "Graduation day: How dads' involvement impacts higher education success."
Wilcox is an AEI visiting scholar and associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, where he directs the National Marriage Project. His data came from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which first interviewed a nationally representative sample of adolescents in 1994-'95, and has interviewed the same group three additional times, most recently in 2008.
The study had several questions that Wilcox used to measure paternal involvement. Respondents were asked how involved their fathers were in their sports activities, helping with homework and talking about personal problems, for instance.
Eighteen percent of the sample reported no involvement from their fathers. The remaining 82 percent were divided into three equal size groups: less involved, involved and highly involved. Those with involved fathers were 98 percent more likely than the uninvolved fathers group to graduate college, and those with highly involved fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate college than the group with uninvolved fathers. Biological, adoptive and step fathers were all included in the same category for those results.