Father absence and age at first birth in a western sample

Lynda G. Boothroyd*, Peter S. Craig, Richard J. Crossman, David I. Perrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Although a large literature has shown links between "father absence" during early childhood, and earlier puberty and sexual behavior in girls in Western populations, there are only a few studies which have looked at timing of reproduction, and only one of these fully incorporated childless respondents to investigate whether father absence is associated with increased hazard of becoming a parent at one time point (early) more than another. Here we sought to clarify exactly when, if at all, father absence increased the likelihood of first birth in a Western sample. Methods: An online sample of 954 women reported on their childhood living circumstances, their age of menarche, first coitus, first pregnancy, and first birth. Results: Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier plots showed an increased risk of becoming a parent for father absent women in their 20s, but no overall greater likelihood of parenthood. Conclusion: These data support the suggestion that father absence is associated with an acceleration of reproductive behavior in Western samples, rather than a simple increase in likelihood of reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-369
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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