Father absence and adolescent development: a review of the literature

J Child Health Care. 2006 Dec;10(4):283-95. doi: 10.1177/1367493506067869.


Rapid social change has seen increasing numbers of woman-headed single-parent families, meaning that more and more children are growing up without a father resident in the home. Father absence is a term that is not well defined and much of the literature does not discriminate between father absence due to death, parental relationship discord or other causes. This article presents a critical review of the extant literature on father absence, particularly as it relates to adolescent well-being and development. Findings from the literature point to the importance of father presence in children's lives and suggest that father absence has ramifications for children and adolescents. The conclusions drawn from this literature review suggest that father absence and its effects on children and families is an area for further research, with the view of developing strategies to ameliorate the impact of father absence on children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development*
  • Divorce / psychology
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Love
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Research
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Paternal Deprivation*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Single-Parent Family / psychology*
  • Social Change
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors