Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?

Bruce J Ellis, John E. Bates, Kenneth A. Dodge, David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood, Gregory S. Pettit, Lianne Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

318 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The impact of father absence on early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy was investigated in longitudinal studies in the United States (N = 242) and New Zealand (N = 520), in which community samples of girls were followed prospectively from early in life (5 years) to approximately age 18. Greater exposure to father absence was strongly associated with elevated risk for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. This elevated risk was either not explained (in the U.S. study) or only partly explained (in the New Zealand study) by familial, ecological, and personal disadvantages associated with father absence. After controlling for covariates, there was stronger and more consistent evidence of effects of father absence on early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy than on other behavioral or mental health problems or academic achievement. Effects of father absence are discussed in terms of life-course adversity, evolutionary psychology, social learning, and behavior genetic models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-821
Number of pages21
JournalChild Development
Volume74
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Pregnancy in Adolescence
Nuclear Family
Fathers
Sexual Behavior
pregnancy
father
New Zealand
Social Behavior
Genetic Models
social learning
social behavior
academic achievement
Longitudinal Studies
longitudinal study
Mental Health
psychology
mental health
Psychology
adolescent
community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Ellis, B. J., Bates, J. E., Dodge, K. A., Fergusson, D. M., John Horwood, L., Pettit, G. S., & Woodward, L. (2003). Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy? Child Development, 74(3), 801-821.

Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy? / Ellis, Bruce J; Bates, John E.; Dodge, Kenneth A.; Fergusson, David M.; John Horwood, L.; Pettit, Gregory S.; Woodward, Lianne.

In: Child Development, Vol. 74, No. 3, 05.2003, p. 801-821.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ellis, BJ, Bates, JE, Dodge, KA, Fergusson, DM, John Horwood, L, Pettit, GS & Woodward, L 2003, 'Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?', Child Development, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 801-821.
Ellis BJ, Bates JE, Dodge KA, Fergusson DM, John Horwood L, Pettit GS et al. Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy? Child Development. 2003 May;74(3):801-821.
Ellis, Bruce J ; Bates, John E. ; Dodge, Kenneth A. ; Fergusson, David M. ; John Horwood, L. ; Pettit, Gregory S. ; Woodward, Lianne. / Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?. In: Child Development. 2003 ; Vol. 74, No. 3. pp. 801-821.
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