Father Absence: Effects on Child and Maternal Psychopathology

PETER S. JENSEN, DONALD GROGAN, STEPHEN N. XENAKIS, MICHAEL W. BAIN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of fathers' absences during the previous year on 213 military children were examined, using multiple measures of children's functioning and psychiatric symptoms. Children whose fathers had been absent 1 or more months during the previous 12 months experienced significantly higher self-reported depression and anxiety, but these symptoms were not apparent to adult observers (parents and teachers). These effects were not demonstrated when maternal psychiatric symptoms and intercurrent family stressors were controlled. Thus, the effects of father absence under routine conditions in relatively healthy samples may exert no significant effects independent of intervening family stressors or maternal psychopathology. Clinic referrals of children during times of father absence may partly be due to an effect of additional stressors impacting on the mother during the absence of the father.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-175
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

Keywords

  • child psychopathology
  • father absence
  • maternal psychopathology
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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