Canadian researchers say that having an actively engaged dad makes a child more intelligent and less prone to behavior problems, The Montreal Gazette reports.

A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science followed 138 children over several years. The children took intelligence tests and their mothers completed questionnaires about their home environment.

The researchers found that a positive, hands-on dad benefits his children even if he does not live with them, Erin Pougnet, a PhD candidate in psychology at Concordia University in Montreal and the study's lead author, told the Gazette.

"Regardless of whether fathers lived with their children, their ability to set appropriate limits and structure their children's behavior positively influenced problem-solving and decreased emotional problems, such as sadness, social withdrawal and anxiety," Pougnet said.

The researchers also stressed that children can do well even if their fathers are absent. From the Gazette:

"While our study examined the important role dads play in the development of their children, kids don't necessarily do poorly without their fathers," stresses co-author Lisa A. Serbin, a professor in the Concordia Department of Psychology and a CRDH member.

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