Effects of Fatherlessness (US Data)

1) BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS/ RUNAWAYS/ HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS/CHEMICAL ABUSERS/ SUICIDES

85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes

(Source: Center for Disease Control)

90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes

(Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)

71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes

(Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)

75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes

(Source: Rainbows for all God's Children.)

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes

(Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)

2) JUVENILE DELINQUENCY/ CRIME/ GANGS

80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes

(Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978) 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)

California has the nation's highest juvenile incarceration rate and the nation's highest juvenile unemployment rate. Vincent Schiraldi, Executive Director, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, "What Hallinan's Victory Means," San Francisco Chronicle (12/28/95).

These statistics translate to mean that children from a fatherless home are:

5 times more likely to commit suicide.

32 times more likely to run away.

20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders.

14 times more likely to commit rape

9 times more likely to drop out of high school.

10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances.

9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution. 20 times more likely to end up in prison.

Juveniles have become the driving force behind the nation's alarming increases in violent crime, with juvenile arrests for murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault growing sharply in the past decade as pistols and drugs became more available, and expected to continue at the same alarming rate during the next decade. "Justice Dept. Issues Scary Report on Juvenile Crime," San Francisco Chronicle (9/8/95). "Crime Wave Forecast With Teenager Boom," San Francisco Chronicle (2/15/95).

Criminal behavior experts and social scientists are finding intriguing evidence that the epidemic of youth violence and gangs is  related to the breakdown of the two-parent family. "New Evidence That Quayle Was Right:

Young Offenders Tell What Went Wrong at Home," San Francisco Chronicle (12/9/94).

3) TEENAGE PREGNANCY

"Daughters of single parents are

53% more likely to marry as teenagers,

164% more likely to have a premarital birth, and

92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages.

All these intergenerational consequences of single motherhood increase the likelihood of chronic welfare dependency."

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Atlantic Monthly (April 1993).

Daughters of single parents are 2.1 times more likely to have children during their teenage years than are daughters from intact families.

TheGood Family Man, David Blankenhorn.

71% of teenage pregnancies are to children of single parents.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

4) CHILD ABUSE

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that there were more than 1,000,000 documented child abuse cases in 1990. In 1983, it found that

60% of perpetrators were women with sole custody.

Shared parenting can significantly reduce the stress associated with sole custody, and reduce the isolation of children in abusive  situations by allowing both parents' to monitor the children's health and welfare and to protect them.

5) POVERTY

"The National Fatherhood Institute reports that 18 million children live in single-parent homes. Nearly 75% of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11.

Only 20% in two-parent families will experience poverty."

Melinda Sacks, "Fatherhood in the 90's: Kids of absent fathers more "at risk","

San Jose Mercury News (10/29/95). "The feminization of poverty is linked to the feminization of custody, as well as linked to lower earnings for women. Greater opportunity for education and jobs through shared parenting can help break the cycle."

David Levy, Ed., The Best Parent is Both Parents (1993).

6) KIDNAPPING

Family abductions were 163,200 compared to non-family abductions of 200-300. The parental abductions were attributed to the parents' disenchantment with the legal system.

David Levy, Ed., The Best Parent is Both Parents (1993), citing a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice (May 1990).


Effects on children of removing a father from the life of a child.

"Based on our clinical experience with a number of latency aged and adolescent girls whose parents divorced during their oedipal years, we postulate that particular coping patterns emerge in response to the absence of the father, which may complicate the consolidation of positive feminine identification in many female children, and is observable during the latency years. We illustrate both the existence of these phenomena and implications for treatment:

1. intensified separation anxiety

2. denial and avoidance of feelings associated with loss of father

3. identification with the lost object

4. object hunger for males."

"In an earlier study by Kalter and Rembar at [Children's Psychiatric Hospital, University of Michigan], a sample of 144 child and

adolesce patients, whose parents had divorced, presented [for evaluation and treatment] with three most commonly occurring problems:

63% Subjective psychological problem (defined as anxiety, sadness, pronounced moodiness, phobias, and depression)

56% Poor grades or grades substantially below ability and/or recent past performance

43% Aggression toward parents

Important features of the subgroup of 32 latency aged girls were in the same order:

69% indicating subjective psychological distress

47% academic problems

41% aggression toward parents.

Clinical Observations on Interferences of Early Father Absence in the Achievement of Femininity by R. Lohr, C. g, A. Mendell and B. Riemer, Clinical Social Work Journal, V. 17, #4, Winter, 1989


"In summary, 30% of the children in the present study experienced a marked decrease in their academic performance following parental separation, and this was evident three years later. Access to both parents seemed to be the most protective factor, in that it was associated with better academic adjustment...

Moreover, data revealed that noncustodial parents (mostly fathers) were very influential in their children's development...

These data also support the interpretation that the more time a child spends with the noncustodial parent the better the over all adjustment of the child."

Factors Associated with Academic Achievement in Children Following Parental Separation, L. Bisnaire, PhD; P. Firestone, PhD; D. Rynard, MA Sc American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(1), January, 1990


"While in most instances adolescents from recently disrupted household were more negatively affected by their parents' divorce, some findings did identify long-term effects of earlier disruption. Adolescent girls who had experienced parental divorce when they were younger  than six or between six and nine years old reported becoming involved with alcohol or drugs in proportions higher than did girls from intact families. Adolescent girls whose experience of divorce occurred before they weresix more frequently reported skipping school than did girls from intact families or girls whose parents divorced when they were between the ages of six and nine."

"These findings underscore the vulnerability of adolescents whose parents have divorced within the last five years. The impact of the marital disruption was most pronounced among girls, who skipped school more frequently, reported more depresssed behavior, and described social support in more negative terms than did boys from recently disrupted homes."

The Effects of Marital Disruption on Adolescents: Time as a Dynamic A.Frost, PhD; B. Pakiz, EdM, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(4), October, 1990


"Among teenage and adult populations of females, parental divorce has been associated with lower self-esteem, precocious sexual activity, greater delinquent-like behavior, and more difficulty establishing gratifying, lasting adult heterosexual relationships. It is especially intriguing to note that, in these studies, the parental divorce typically occurred years before any difficulties were observed..

"At the time of the marital separation, when (as is typical) father leaves the family home and becomes progressively less involved with his children over the ensuing years, it appears that young girls experience the emotional loss of father egocentrically as a rejection of them. While more common among preschool and early elementary school girls, we have observed this phenomenon clinically in later elementary school and young adolescent children. Here the continued lack of involvement is experienced as an ongoing rejection by him. Many girls attribute this rejection to their not being pretty enough, affectionate enough, athletic enough, or smart enough to please father and engage him in regular, frequent contacts".

"Finally, girls whose parents divorce may grow up without the day to day experience of interacting with a man who is attentive, caring and loving. The continuous sense of being valued and loved as a female seems an especially key element in the development of the conviction that one is indeed femininely lovable. Without this regular source of nourishment, a girl's sense of being valued as a female does not seem to thrive."

Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Developmental Vulnerability Model

Neil Kalter, Ph.D., University of Michigan, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57(4), October, 1987


"....when the non-custodial parent is perceived as "lost," the young adult is more depressed. When a divorce occurs, the perception of the non-custodial father has been shown to change in a negative direction, while the perception of the mother (whether custodon-custodial) remains relatively stable. "

"Because divorce is a process, not an isolated event, the effects of the divorce may be cumulative and early intervention would therefore be beneficial.

The continued involvement of the non- custodial parent in the child's life appears crucial in preventing an intense sense of loss in the child....

The importance of the relationship with the non-custodial parent may also have implications for the legal issues of custodial arrangements and visitation.

The results of this study indicate that arrangements where both parents are equally involved with the child are optimal. When this type of arrangement is not possible, the child's continued relationship with the non-custodial parent remains essential."

Young Adult Children of Divorced Parents: Depression and the Perception of Loss,

Rebecca L. Drill, Ph.D., Harvard University. Journal of Divorce, V. 10, #1/2, Fall/Winter 1986


"The impact of parental divorce and subsequent father absence in the wake of this event has long been thought to affect children quite negatively. For instance, parental divorce and father loss has been associated with difficulties in school adjustment (e.g. Felner, Ginter, Boike, & Cowen), Social Adjustment (e.g. Fry & Grover) and personal adjustment (e.g. Covell & Turnbull)..."

"The results of the present study suggest that father loss through divorce is associated with diminished self-concepts in children...at least for this sample of children from the midwestern United States."

Children's Self Concepts: Are They Affected by Parental Divorce and Remarriage Thomas S. Parish, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 1987, V 2, #4, 559-562

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