Life without a father?  Does it really matter?









"A recent U.S. longitudinal study which tracked over 6,400 boys over a period of 20 years (well into their adult years) found that children without biological fathers in the home are roughly three times more likely to commit a crime that leads to incarceration than are children from intact families." Cynthia Harper and Sara S. McLanahan, "Father Absence and Youth Incarceration," presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, 1998.

"The rate of sexual abuse of girls by their stepfathers is at least six or seven times higher, (1) and may be as much as 40 times greater, (2) than sexual abuse of daughters by their biological fathers who remain in intact families." (1) Diana E. H. Russell, "The Prevalence and Seriousness of Incestuous Abuse: Stepfathers vs. Biological Fathers," Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 8 (1984), pp. 15-22. (2) Margo Wilson and Martin Daly, "The Risk of Maltreatment of Children Living with Stepparents," in Richard J. Gelles and Jane B. Lancaster, eds., Child Abuse and Neglect: Biosocial Dimensions, Foundations of Human Behavior (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1987), p. 228.

"One third of men under 40 would consider giving up raises and advancement at work for a better home life."  Bartlett & Rivers 1996.

"Kids spell love T-I-M-E."  Ken Canfield

"More and more empirical evidence is validating the important contributions dads make when they get involved with their children's education:  higher achievement scores, less disciplinary issues, fewer dropouts."  Nord 1997, NCES 1997

the need for fathersFatherneed : Why Father Care Is As Essential As Mother Care for Your Child by Kyle D. Pruett  

Drawing on more than two decades of research at Yale University, the author combines real-life examples from his own child and family psychiatry practice with state-of-the-art research data.  He shows how fathers parent differently and why that difference is so important to a child's physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development.

Life Without Father?
In his new book Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society, David Popenoe offers some interesting conclusions from empirical studies which point to the child's viewpoint of the situation. Obviously, children prefer to have a father in the home! Popenoe accurately identifies many of the outcomes of fatherless homes including violence, depression, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency. 

The Hidden Value of a Man : The Incredible Impact of a Man on His Family by Gary Smalley, John T. Trent  



Suggested Reading:
Fatherless America: Confronting our Most Urgent Social Problem by D. Blankenhorn
Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths


isn't the solution

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This webpage offers statistics and resources to help couples understand the effects on fatherless children.