Dad’s role in the development of children’s diverging destinies.


The key objective of my research project is to provide novel insights into the questions whether, why, and in what ways, fathers influence their children’s social, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive outcomes. More specifically, this project will investigate how inequalities in child outcomes develop through fathers’ parenting practices across childhood and adolescence, and how context may buffer or strengthen fathers’ role in this development of inequalities. The idea underlying the proposed research is that much can be learned about fathers’ role in child outcomes by linking sociological stratification questions to developmental psychology research on father involvement. The relevance of the current project is apparent: inequality is rising all across Europe, people are increasingly relying on their families to get by, and father involvement has become more polarized according to fathers’ socioeconomic position over the decades. The project aims to be innovative in four ways. Firstly, the application of new observation methods and state-of-the-art analytical techniques allows me to tap, more closely than hitherto, into the mechanisms underlying fathers’ influence on child outcomes. Second, unlike previous studies, this project will not limit its focus to the father-child dyad. The use of multi-actor data enables me to assess the relative importance of fathers as transmitters of inequality in the context of the wider family. Thirdly, by expanding the focus beyond the early years of children’s lives, it is possible to obtain a comprehensive understanding of how and why fathers’ role in the transmission of inequality changes across childhood and adolescence. Finally, an important contribution of the project is its potential to compare fathers’ impact on child outcomes longitudinally across three countries, allowing me to investigate the extent to which, and why, there is cross-national variation in the development of inequalities through fathers’ parenting practices.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. R. Keizer

Affiliated with

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Onderzoek Sociologie

Team members

K.O.W. Helmerhorst, Prof. dr. R. Keizer, G Mari MA MSc, P Vrolijk


01/10/2017 to 31/08/2022