Associations Between Father Absence and Age of First Sexual Intercourse

Authors: 
Mendle, J.,
Harden, K. P.,
Turkheimer, E.,
Van Hulle, C. A.,
D'Onofrio, B. M.,
Brooks-Gunn, J.,
Rodgers, J. L.,
Emery, R. E.,
Lahey, B. B.
Type: 
Journal Article
Year Published: 2009
Organization: 
Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Series: 
Child Development, 80(5):1463-1480, September/October 2009.
Source: 
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Grants F31 MH074163-01A1, R01-HD034265, R01-MH053554, R01HD056354-01 & R01HD53550-2)
Abstract: 

Researchers found that children raised without a biological father in the household have earlier average ages of first sexual intercourse than children raised in father-present households. The authors state that competing theoretical perspectives have attributed this either to effects of father absence on socialization and physical maturation or to nonrandom selection of children predisposed for early sexual intercourse into father-absent households. The authors found that genetically informative analyses of the children of sister pairs (N = 1,382, aged 14-21 years) support the selection hypothesis: this association seems attributable to confounded risks, most likely genetic in origin, which correlated both with likelihood of father absence and early sexual behavior. The authors state that this holds implications for environmental theories of maturation and suggests that previous research may have inadvertently overestimated the role of family structure in reproductive maturation. Modified Author Abstract.

Availability: 
Correspondence to: Jane Mendle, Department of Psychology, 12227 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1227; E-mail: jemendle@uoregon.edu, Website: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.2009.80.issue-5/issuetoc
Notes: 
Copyright Protected
Accession Number: 
21418