Understanding Fathers’ Roles in South Korea Children’s Negative Emotionality, Mothers’ Depression, and Parental Warmth in Predicting Children’s School Readiness in Low-Income Korean Families: The Role of Fathers’ Positive Involvement

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This study examined how the longitudinal associations among children’s negative emotionality, mothers’ depressive symptoms, parental warmth, and children’s school readiness and whether the associations vary as a function of fathers’ positive involvement in low-income South Korean families. Participants were 399 families including mothers (Mage = 32.54 years at Time 1), fathers (Mage = 35.23 years at Time 1), and children (Mage = 38.92 months at Time 1; 50.5% boys) in the Panel Study on Korean Children. Results revealed that children’s negative emotionality was indirectly associated with their school readiness three years later, through its association with mothers’ depressive symptoms and warmth. Mothers’ warmth mediated the association between mothers’ depressive symptoms and children’s school readiness, and fathers’ warmth mediated the association between fathers’ positive involvement and children’s school readiness. Our findings revealed the family processes underlying children’s school readiness development in low-income Korean family contexts. Our findings also provide information useful for efforts to detect family risks and to establish family policies to promote low-income children’s school readiness.