Fathers’ Cognitive Engagement and Preschoolers’ Literacy Skills in Three Ethnic Groups in Trinidad and Tobago

Jaipaul L. Roopnarine, Elif Dede Yildirim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, this study assessed the associations between fathers’ cognitive engagement and preschoolers’ literacy skills in African Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, and mixed-ethnic Caribbean families in Trinidad and Tobago. The sample consisted of 476 fathers and their preschool-aged children. Multigroup structural equation modeling indicated that paternal cognitive engagement was associated with children’s literacy skills in mixed-ethnic Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean families above and beyond maternal cognitive engagement activities. Across all groups, children’s age, number of hours in preschool, and number of children’s books in the home were associated with children’s literacy skills. Fathers’ residential status was associated with children’s literacy skills differently across ethnic groups. Findings are interpreted in terms of the importance and consistency of paternal engagement in the home environment for the acquisition of early language skills in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-517
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019



  • Caribbean ethnic groups
  • literacy skills
  • paternal engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology

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