Study Finds Teen Pregnancy and Crime Levels
are Higher Among Kids from Fatherless Homes
Children reared in fatherless homes are more than twice as likely to
become male adolescent delinquents or teen mothers, according to a
significant new study by two economists at the University of
California, Santa Barbara.
Llad Phillips and William S. Comanor based their research on data from
random surveys of 15,000 youths conducted annually by the Center for
Human Resources at Ohio State University. Their findings suggest that
current proposals to provide tax credits and exemptions for single
mothers and to collect more child support from absent fathers will
have little effect on the problem of delinquency among teenage boys.
"Both measures tacitly accept the father's absence from the home and
seek to ameliorate its consequences by increasing the income available
to mother and child. However, it requires an increase in family income
of approximately $50,000 to counter the father's absence," the
economists wrote in a report outlining the results of their study,
which were presented at the Western Economics Association meeting in
San Francisco on July 1.
Phillips and Comanor designed their study to account for the influence
of income, and found that in the case of boys, a minimum of $54,000 in
additional family income is necessary to counter the harmful effects
of absent fathers. For girls, the figure is much lower-$17,000 a year.
The researchers also found that while absent mothers have a negligible
impact on male adolescent delinquency, motherless homes are 56 percent
more likely to result in teen pregnancy among girls.
"The absence of either parent has a significant effect on the kids
having one kind of pathology or another, but the absence of a father
tends to have a more significant effect, and it seems to more
seriously affect the sons," said Phillips, whose research also
indicates that step-fathers may in fact contribute to the problem.
"The effect of the presence or absence of moms and dads on
childbearing at a young age among girls are more equal than their
effect on delinquency by boys."
Phillips and Comanor are about to embark on a study of delinquency
among teenage girls, which is on the rise despite being far less
prevalent than delinquency among adolescent boys.
"A lot of kids get involved in crime long before they are able to make
rational choices about crime vs. legitimate work," Phillips says. "And
that's our motivation in doing this research-finding out the
importance of the family in the whole process."
--This Press Release distributed courtesy of "Men's HOTLINE" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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