Fatherless Boys at Risk

Way back on August 20, 1998, Reuters News reported the results of a study by Cynthia Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and Sara S. McLanahan of Princeton University:

Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families…those boys whose fathers were absent from the household had double the odds of being incarcerated — even when other factors such as race, income, parent education and urban residence were held constant.

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Following is a sample of what other sources have had to say about the risks faced by fatherless children:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)

After economic factors are excluded, children reared in fatherless homes are more than twice as likely to become male adolescent delinquents or teen mothers, according to a University of California, Santa Barbara study. See UCSB Study of Children from Fatherless Homes on the Fathering News pages for more details of this study and others.

This Princeton University study is of historical value because it was one of the first to support those who argue that strong fathers are an essential part of stable families. In The Case for Father Custody, Daniel Amneus made his compelling argument that the social invention of fatherhood is the basis of stable families. Or put another way, when fathers are weak the family breaks apart, and so does the social structure.

For links to more items concerning the relationship of gender and parenting issues, see Taliban Movement Gains Strength in America.