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Smith, Herbert L. & Morgan, S. Philip (1994). Children's Closeness to Father as Reported by Mothers, Sons and Daughters: Evaluating Subjective Assessments with the Rasch Model. Journal of Family Issues, 15(1), 3-29.


Mothers' and children's reports of closeness to father are examined using an approach for reconciling discrepant survey responses. This approach is based on a model for the measurement of latent traits. When both mothers and children are asked to report on the closeness of the child to his or her father, tabulations of survey responses show substantial disagreement in the reported evaluation. We adopt a model that explains this disagreement in terms of (a) constant differences between mothers and children, and (b) variability within the sampling population in the actual closeness of father to child. Closeness appears to have an entirely different meaning when fathers are resident than when they are nonresident. But the meaning does not seem to vary (even if feelings do) when the resident father is a stepfather or whether the focal child is a son or a daughter.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Family Issues


Smith, Herbert L.
Morgan, S. Philip