The influence of father absence on the self-esteem and self-reported sexual activity of rural southern adolescents.

Constance Smith Hendricks, Sandra K. Cesario, Carolyn Murdaugh, Mary E. Gibbons, E. Jane Servonsky, Rodel V. Bobadilla, Denisha L. Hendricks, Barbara Spencer-Morgan, Abbas Tavakoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The absence of the father in the resident home is an increasing trend in the United States, and the belief that the absence of fathers is lined with a variety of social pathologies is gaining national momentum. This study explored the relationship of father absence on self-esteem and self-reported sexual activity among rural southern adolescents. A sample of 1,409 adolescents (558 males and 851 females) aged 11 to 18 years was surveyed, and the Miller Self-Esteem Questionnaire (MSQ) was used to measure self-esteem. Analysis revealed that increased sexual activity occurred by adolescents in homes where no father present in the residence. Although a statistical significance was noted in the relationship between father absence and lower self-esteem, the magnitude of the difference was not large. Further, no relationship between self-esteem and sexual activity was noted. Seemingly, the absence of the father has a potentially detrimental effect on adolescents' lifestyle choices. Consideration of the notion that the phenomena of fathering rather than the mere presence of a father may contribute to differences in adolescent's lifestyle choices should be studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalThe ABNF journal : official journal of the Association of Black Nursing Faculty in Higher Education, Inc
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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