Sometimes research can seem to lag behind common sense, or, to put it another way, it can sometimes take longer to prove something scientifically than it does to arrive at an instinctive judgement. A review of the research by Swedish psychologists has found that having an active father figure reduces the risks of behavioural problems in boys and girls and of psychological problems in young women. The review, which looked at 24 papers published between 1987 and 2007, found that regular, positive contact reduced criminal behaviour among children in low-income families and enhanced cognitive skills like intelligence, reasoning and language development. Children who lived with both a mother and a father figure also had less behavioural problems than those who lived just with their mother. Children with involved fathers were less likely to smoke and get into trouble with the police, achieved better levels of education and developed good friendships with children of both sexes. Women had better relationships with partners and a greater sense of physical well-being at the age of 33 if they had had a good relationship with their father at 16.
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