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The Link between Risky Sexual Behavior in Adolescence and the Presence of Biological Fathers in the Home

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Title:
The Link between Risky Sexual Behavior in Adolescence and the Presence of Biological Fathers in the Home
Creator:
Crumbling, Brittany
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Adolescence ( jstor )
Adolescents ( jstor )
Child development ( jstor )
Child psychology ( jstor )
Correlations ( jstor )
Fathers ( jstor )
Homes ( jstor )
Human sexual behavior ( jstor )
Oral sex ( jstor )
Risk taking ( jstor )
Absentee fathers
Adolescence--Sexual behavior
Unsafe sex
Genre:
Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Notes

Abstract:
As parental influence remains the main reason for adolescents’ decision to engage in risky behaviors, it is important to understand the relationship between father presence in the household and risky sexual behavior in adolescence. With a sample (N=1364) drawn from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, this study attempted to understand the complexities of parental influence by mapping out the length of time that has the most effect on adolescent risk taking and gender differences. The majority (66%) of participants lived in a household with their biological father throughout the entire course of the study. Negative associations were found between length of biological fathers’ presence in the home and adolescents engaging in risky sexual and other risky behaviors. Gender differences were also found and not all in the expected strength of association. In regards to the influence of fathers’ presence on adolescents’ risk behavior engagement, males were found to be influenced more by the father presence than females. ( en )
General Note:
Awarded Bachelor of Science; Graduated May 3, 2011 summa cum laude. Major: Family, Youth and Community Sciences
General Note:
College/School: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
General Note:
Advisor: Kate Fogarty

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright Brittany Crumbling. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Student: Brittany Crumbling brittany.crumbling@gmail.com Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kate Fogarty Departmental Honors Coordinator: Dr. Heidi Radunovich

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1 Abstract behaviors, it is important to understand the relationship between father presence in the household and risky sexual behavior in adolescence. With a sample ( N =1364) d rawn from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, this study attempted to understand the complexities of parental influence by mapping out the length of time that ha s the most effect o n adolescent risk taking and gender differences The majority (66%) of participants lived in a household with their biological father throughout the entire course of the study. N egative associa tion s were found between length of engaging in risky sexual and other risky behaviors. Gender differences were also found and not all in the expected strength of association. I n regards to the influence of males were found to be influenced more by the father presence than females.

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2 Introduction Several researchers have identified the absence of biological fathers from the home as a major component influencing both early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy (Ellis et al., 2003). It has been shown that changes in family structure, such as divorce, influence early sexual debut; this affects young adolescent females more than older male adolescents ( Sturgeon, 2008). Ellis and colleagues (2003) found that pregnan c Cultural differences also ha ve vari ed impact on adolescents. For example, white females are the most affected in deciding to engage in sexual behavior in adolescence when born to unmarried parents and faced with a variety of changes in their family structure (Albrecht & Teachman, 2003). Thi s study seeks to explore the role of fathers on the development of children by examining the relationship between risky sexual behavior in adolescence and the presence of biological fathers in the home. Though father absence has been seen as a risk factor for child outcomes and researchers on resilience argue that father absence cannot be considered a protective factor, we choose to view father presence in the household as a protective factor as the child grows up. Rather than examining father absence as a risk factor (as much of the literature focuses on the links between father absence and adolescent risk behavior, especially sexual risk taking for girls) we will focus on father presence as a protective factor for positive social and emotional development or for the reduction of sexual and other forms of risk taking. In the available dataset from a non representative longitudinal study, with a diverse population including minorities and low socioeconomic status as well as high socioeconomic status families, the majority of participant

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3 youth and their families grew up in homes with a continual father presence from infancy through early adolescence. As the United States continues to have the highest teen bi rth rate of any other developed nation, it is evident that the issue of risky sexual behavior in adolescence is still a major issue in American society (Child Trends : Facts at a Glance 2009). Perper and Manlove (2009) have projected that more than one in six females in the U.S. will become a teen mother. Studies have foun d that children born to teenage mothers have more behavioral problems and poorer academic performance (Levine, Emery, & Pollack, 2007); these findings can be attributed to less educational attainment by parents, fewer parenting skills, and lower income because teenage Estimates from the Center for Disease C ontrol and Prevention (CDC) show that about half (10 million) of the new STD cases are reported amongst people aged 15 to 24 (Wildsmith, Schelar, Peterson, & Manlove, 2010); this prevalence is extremely high because th is age group is only a small represent ation of the number of sexually active people in the nation. Research on family structure has significantly increased over the past several decades due to the increase of divorce non marital fertility, and cohabitation which has caused a decline in marri age and remarriage (Casper & Bianchi, 2002). Such phenomena have caused a shift from the traditional nuclear American family prototype (father, mother, and children) to a gradual change in increasing proportions of single p arent and stepparent households s ince the 1970s Approximately one million children currently live in single parent households (Teyber, 2001). Oman, Vesley and Aspy parent households rose from 12% in 1970 to 28% in 1996 and stabilized at 27 28% from 1997 to

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4 Adolescents from single mother families, married stepfamilies, and cohabit ating stepfamilies are more likely to participate in risky behaviors compared to adolescents from a biological two parent family ( Brown & Rinelli, 2010). With this information and in light of increases in numbers and the proportion of adolescents becoming involved in risky behaviors it is important to learn the root causes for these behaviors. Crockett, Raffaell, and Shen (2006) describe teens who enjoy being in dangerous situations as risk prone or risk tolerant ; their interest in risky activities causes them to misjudge the consequences of their behavior, which lead s them to make unwise decisions. These risky behaviors includ inappropriate aggressiveness and violence, school failure, and (Youngblade, Curry, Novak, Vogel, & Shenkman, 2006 p.487 ). Beyond individual characteristics, i t is also important to examine the relationship between father presence at home and risky sexual behavior in adolescence. By examining this relationship in American adolescents, in contrast to global population s where research has also been conducted, one can examine whether this relationship is consistent for all adolescents across the globe, since previous research has not found data th at confirms this relationship for Americans (Ellis et al., 2003) Literature Review An extensive amount of research has been previously completed to understand adolescent sexual behavior particularly risky sexual behavior including early onset of sexual activity Brooks Gunn and Furstenberg (1989) were the first to find that family, peers, and community all influenced the decision to begin engaging in sexual in tercourse. Later studies found additional factors, including desire, media, and innate biologica l factors as reasons for

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5 adolescents to become engag ed in early sex ual activity (Brooks Gunn & Paikoff, 1991). Recent research f indings point to socioeconomic status, especially poverty, and neighborhood conditions as factors (Browning, Burrington, Leventhal, & Brooks Gunn, 2008). A Florida Healthy Kids program study conducted at the University of Florida compared different factors, such as risky behavior, social capital, health care use, and community risk behavior statistics, to find a correlation between any of the factors in accordance with age and gender (Youngblade et al., 2006). Researchers found that : female adolescents in communities with higher risky behavior rates and low social capital ; and adolescents in communities with greater crime and violence were more likely to engage in risky behaviors (Youngblade et al., 2006). DeLisi and colleagues (2009) state d 28 ). Theoretical Orientation There are two theories that support the proposed relationship between father absence and risky sexual behavior in adolescence. The first theory is the life course adversity model, which suggests that per s e but various other stressors associated with father absence like conflicting family relationships, financial problems, lack of structure, and lack of father does not live in the home (Ellis et al., 2003, p. 802). This model supports the idea that father absence is not the only variable that causes risky sexual behavior in adolescence, but it is one of many factors that contribute to this happening. The second theory is the evolutionary model that was developed by Hetherington (1972), which found that the early paternal relationship with daughters especially during the first five years of life, is a predictor for early engagement in sexual behaviors (Ell is et al., 2003).

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6 Risky Sexual Behavior In regards to this research thesis, risky sexual behavior will be defined as an early sexual debut which includes having ever: had oral sex, had sexual intercourse, gotten someone or been pregnant; been diagnosed with an STD; or sex (intercourse or oral) with multiple partners ( see Grunbaum et al., 2004; Moore, Manlove, Terry Humen, Williams, Papillo, & Scarpa, 2001). Early sexual debut can be attributed to the incre ased prevalence of premarital sexual intercourse because of the delay in the age of first marriage (Wellings, et al., 2006). According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS, 2009), nearly half (46%) of high school students across the United States report ed having had sexual intercourse with 21% admitting to being sexually active (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2010). Due to the failure or misusage of contraception, teenagers are more likely to contract a sexually transmitted in fection or have an unintended pregnancy. Statistics show that teenage mothers account for approximately 10% of all births (Sulak, 2004). According to the National Vital Statistics Reports (2006), there was a recent 3 percent increase in the birth rate a mongst teenagers between the age of 15 and 19 (Martin, et al. 2009) In 2007, 86% of teen births occurred outside of marriage and the birth rate was 1% higher than in ). A ring the time of intercourse and its association with substance or alcohol usage can be one of the factors that has caused an increase in birth rate over time (Crockett, Raffaell, & Shen, 2006). It is important to note that the risk of teen pregnancy is no t the only issue in risky sexual behavior because adolescents also face the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can become a potentially incurable sexually transmitted disease (STD). This age group of 15 to 19 years of age is m ost prone to receiving a sexually transmitted

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7 risk sexual partners and because behavior is not onl y a cost for the adol a problem for taxpayers because they have to fund resources for teen pregnancy and adolescent sexua l health prevention and unanticipated outcomes Sulak (2004) estimate that the annual cost to provide resourc es for pregnant teens is $29 billion while the lifetime costs for people who have contracted an STD during the ages of 15 to 24 are approximately $6.5 billion (Wildsmith, et al. 2010). As practitioners increasingly value evidence based prevention efforts and initiatives, it is important to understand what influences adolescents to begi n engaging in sexual behaviors. Parental Influence A national longitudinal survey of 12 to 19 year olds reported that 47 percent of youth felt their parents had the most influence on their de cisions about sex (Ikramullah, et al., 2009). Adolescence is the first stage of independence from parental influence due to the increased i nvolvement with peer networks outside of the home. Adolescents may attribute their decision s about sex to parental monitoring, which causes adolescents to either reduce their involvement in sexual behaviors or with sexually active peers because of fear of being reprimanded by parents (Xiamong, Feigelman, & Stanton, 2000). Parents not only become monitors, but also act as making process to engage in risky sexual behavior (Parera & Suris, 2004; Bronte Tinkew, Moore, Capps & Zaff, 2006). These factors are only related if the parent takes an ac

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8 An overall good, positive relationship between pa rent and child has been found to delay sexual experiences for adolescents (Ikramullah, et al. 2009). These relationships allow both parent and child to develop better line s of communication, which will allow for the likelihood of them having an open dialo gue about sex ( Pearson, Muller, & Frisco, 2006). I t was found that girls were more likely to delay sexual encounters than boys, but the researchers w ere not sure about why this occurred (Pearson et al., 2006) Commendador (2010) has found that adolescents with close parental relationships benefit from self esteem and confidence. Although it was shown that self esteem was one of the key factors that delayed sexual debut, no correlation was found to link self esteem and adolescent contraceptive behavior (Comm endador, 2007). Close relationships allow the parents to enforce values, morals, and rules, which will be effective in the moral and behavioral development of the child. Influence of Father Presence behavior when they become adolescents (Bronte Tinkew et al. 2006). Harris (2000) has found that fatherless rearing affects adolescents most when the father has left the home and still is ali ve rather than one who has died. There is a possible state of void for adolescents who do not have the biological father present in the home. Baumrind (1991) concluded that fathers who have an authoritarian, permissive, or uninvolved p arenting style will have adolescen ts who are more prone to experienc ing negative outcomes. Higher levels of father involvement are associated with a decreased risk of early adolescents engaging in risky sexual behavior (Bronte Tinkew et al. 2006). Biolog ical fathers are more influential than non biological fathers, such as stepfathers, timing ( age ) of their sexual debut (Sturgeon, 2008). Ho wever, the association between amount of years of life and sexual

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9 behavior in early adolescence remains to be explored. This association represents a gap in current literature, which will be explored in this thesis research. Although this is not the first longitudinal study to analyze the relationship be in the U.S., it is important to note that th is is the first time such inquiry has been applied to the last wave of data in the NICHD SECCYD study assessing outcomes in adolescence For example, Cavanagh and H uston (2008) examined social and psychological (behavior, academic success) as a result of parental unit instability (going from two parent to single parent and/or stepparent) with the NICHD sample but did so only with the third wave of data (third through fifth grade) and did not cover risk behaviors (variability in risk behavior outcomes in the study was low in the third wave in contrast to the fourth and final wave) Research Questions/ Hypothesis The research objective is to first assess whether length of time in which biological father s reside in the household is associated with risky sexual behavior for both female s and male s in early adolescence. Second, males and females will be compared o n the effects of father presence on their risky sexual behavi or in early adolescence as well as on other risk behaviors such as delinquency The inquiry will be performed using the National Institute of Child Health and Care and Youth Development (SECCYD), a longitudinal dataset collected between 1991 and 200 7 (see description in Methods section). The resea rch questions which will be answered are: 1. To what degree does amount of time fathers reside in the home play in the likelihood of adolescent children engag ing in risky sexual behavior ? 2. W hat gender differences emerge for adolescent risk y sexual activity based on father presence in the home ?

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10 3. To what degree does amount of time fathers reside in the home affect the likelihood of early adolescent children engag ing in other types of risky behavior? 4. What gender differences emerge for other adolescent risk behaviors, besides risky sexual behaviors, based on father presence in the home? The hypotheses and anticipated results are: 1. L ength of time in which the biological father resides in the home defined as father presence, will be negatively associated wit h adolescent sexual risk taking. 2. Length of time in which the biological father resides in the home, defined as father presence, will be more strongly assoc than males. 3. L ength of time in which the biological father resides in the home defined as father presence, wil l be negatively associated with other types of risk behaviors in adolescence 4. Length of time in which the biological father resides in the home, defined as father ta taking behaviors (other than sexual risk) than females. If the anticipated results are not found, it is still important to explore the association between adolescents eng age ment in risky se xual behavior other risky behaviors, and father presence Methods NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development is a comprehensive longitudinal study hospital sites near or in the cities of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Little Rock, Arkansas, Boston, Massachusetts, Irvine, California, Lawrence, Kansas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Pittsburgh,

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11 Pennsylvania, Charlottesville, Virginia, Seattle, Washington, and Madison, Wi sconsin. This Data was divided into four phases that represented a certain number of ages of the participants. Phase #1 ( n =1364) accounted for participant aged 1 month to 3 years old and within this timeframe, data was collected at five different age ranges (1 month, 6 months, 15 months, 24 months, and 36 months); data analysts observed the child at home, in child care, and in lab playrrom. Phase #2 ( n =1226) accounted for participant aged 54 months to first grade and collected data at three different age ranges (54 m onths, kindergarten, and first grade). Phase #3 ( n =1061) collected data from participants in second grade through sixth grade; data collection was completed five times for every grade completed. The final phase, Phase #4 ( n =1009), concluded the study with data collection for participants in seventh and eighth grade and at the age of fifteen. The total number of times of data collection from the participants for this study and their families was sixteen. In this longitudinal, non experimental design using ri sky sexual behavior and other risky behaviors measured at the final wave of data collection in the NICHD SECCYD study as the d ependent variable and the length of father presence as the independent variable will be used as the basis for the analysis perform ed of this thesis. Data analysis will involve Pearson correlations between continuous independent (father presence) and dependent variables (rates of risk taking behaviors) After analysis and reports on the findings, we will assess whether presence of fat hers in the home s engagement in risky sexual behavior. Findings will be

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12 presented in written form and supplemented with graphs and tables on statistical tests and significance. Study Sample The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) is a longitudinal study, in which participants were tracked from before birth until current (age 14 15) in four waves of data. Participants, from infancy through adolescence, completed many psychological, physical, and behavioral assessments during the course of the study. A total of 1,364 youth and their families, pa rticipated in the study, with 1,061 having completed all four waves, initially located in 10 regio ns throughout the U.S (refer to Table 1 for more demographic characteristics of participants and families) Approximately twenty four percent of participants were identified as ethnic minorities. The study had a low mortality rate with only 303 families discontinuing and withdrawing from the program by the end of the program Participants for whom data were missing (over 300) on the fourth wave of data or who participated in the fourth wave of data collection but did not complete items on risk b ehavior were excluded from the analysis. Procedure The NICHD SECCYD is a secondary dataset, where the identity of participants remains unknown to the principal investigator and supervising faculty members. No benefits are distributed to the participants from the principal investigator and supervising faculty members; however, compensation was awarded to participants and families by the NIH. All publications based on this dataset, in the event this thesis is published, wil l go through approval by NICHD/ NIH for discretionary purposes.

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13 This study will focus on the first through fourth waves of data, in which the fourth wave seventh and eighth grades. The outcome variable is indicated by the degree to wh ich eighth graders in the sample participate in risky sexual behavior. Risky behaviors were measured, with the exception of number of sexual partners which represented a specific ratio continuous variable with a range of 0 to 2 with 0 = never, 1=once or t wice, and 2=more than twice. [See Appendix B for more information about how the key variables were composed]. The frequencies, means and standard deviations on the risk b ehaviors are reported in Results Table 3 The independent variable, father presence i n the home, is a compilation of all four waves of data, indicated by years or times of data collection in which the biological father resided in the home with the child/adolescent (0 15 years with 13 times in which data were collected on father presence i n the home with a range of 0 to 13 times of data collection in which 0 = biological father does not reside in home and 1 = biological father does reside in home ) [refer to Table 2]. Values of each time of data collection in which biological father resided in the home were added for the range of scores to proceed from 0 to 13 times, with higher values signifying greater biological father presence in the home. The data for this study w as collected 16 times over the course of 15 years, but the variable, father living in the household, was only reported 13 of the 16 data collections. Table 2 shows that out of the 807 participants that responded to the question, does father live in the hou sehold with the child, the majority ( n =533 or 12.6% of the sample ) were living with their child at the time of the 13 th data collection. Results The research was designed to evaluate the relationship between the self reported behavior of adolescent risk y sexual behavior and biological fathers living in the home with their children.

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14 The introduction and literature review has evidence supporti ng the relationship between the variables displayed in the results. T hese results are based on wave 4 of the Nation al Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) to show the relationships between the variables. (see Table 3 ) Alcohol usage, numbers of sexual intercourse partners, and oral sex partne rs over a lifetime with means of .34, .28, and .33 were the highes t for all of the risk behaviors, but the standard deviations were high as well showing variability in the responses. It was found that about 1 2.6 % of the population sample was found to have engage d in oral sex, which shows that there is enough variability in this risk behavior at age 14 15. Hypothesis 1: Length of time in which the biological father resides in the home defined as father presence, will be negatively associated with adolescent sexual risk taking. This hypothesis was supported There was a negative correlation between father presence and frequency with which teen had oral sex in the past year, r = .315, p .000. There was also negati ve correlation between father presence and frequency of sexual intercourse in the past year, r = .103, p .000. There was a negative correlation between father presence and number of oral sex partners in the past year, r = .136, p .000. There was a negative c orrelation between father presence and number of sexual intercourse partners in the past year, r = .201, p .000. According to this sample population, the majority of the participated lived with their fathers for a long period of time (See Table 2); so, it i s evident that the length of time in which the biological father resides in the home is negatively associated with risky sexual behaviors in adolescence (See Table 4 )

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15 Hypothesis 2 : Length of time in which the biological father defined as father presenc e, sexual risk taking than males. Data analyzed did not confirm this hypothesis to be true. Although both males and females had a negative relationship between father presence and sexual risk 4 ). There was a negative correlation between father presence and had oral sex in the past year, r = .155, p .000, n =475 for males compared to r = .142, p .000, n =476 for females. There was also negative correlation between father presence and had sexual intercourse in the past year, r = .242, p .000 n =476 for males compared to r = .194, p .000, n =476 for females. There was a negative correlation between father pres ence and had # of oral sex partners in the past year, r = .193, p .000, n =472 for males compared to r = .137, p .000, n =476 for females. There was a negative correlation between father presence and had # of sexual intercourse in the past year, r = .211, p .00 0, n =471 for males compared to r = .171, p .000, n =477 for females. Males had a stronger negative relationship than females for all of the variables analyzed. Hypothesis 3: Length of time in which the biological father resides in the home, defined as fathe r presence, will be negatively associated with other types of risk behaviors in adolescence. This hypothesis was supported. Data analyzed shows the correlation between adolescents had less frequent father presence as more likely to engage in risky behaviors. There was a negative correlation between father presence and

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16 suspension from school, r = .142, p .000. There was also negative correlation between father presence and cigarette smoking, r = .194, p .000. There was a negative correlation between father presence and alcohol usage, r = .137, p .000. There was a negative correlation between father presence and marijuana usage, r = .182, p .000. There was a negative correlation for father presence and the l ikelihood for them to part icipate in risky behaviors (See Table 5 ). Hypothesis 4: Length of time in which the biological father resides in the home, defined as father presence, will be more strongly associated with male than female risk) than females. The hypothesis was supported because the Pearson correlations showed that behaviors for two variables (suspension from school and used or smoked marijuana) There was a negative correlation between father presence and suspension from school, r = .315, p .000, n =477 for males compared to r = .229, p .000, n =478 for females. There was also negative correlation between father presence and had used or smoked marijuana in the past year, r = .201, p .000 n =477 for males compared to r = .165, p .001, n =478 for females. The other two variables showed that females had a stronger negative correlation for cigarette smoking, r = .195, p .000, n =477, compared to males, r = .103, p .000, n =477, but both females ( n =478) and males ( n =476) had the same negative correlation for alcohol usage, r= .136 p .000

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17 Discussion As expected the length of time in which the biological father resides in the home was found to be negatively associated with adolescent sexual risk taking and with other types of behavior. This finding is verified by research conducted by Parera and Suris (2004), who concluded that the negative correlation is due to increased amount of parental monitoring, since it is easier for two parents to monitor the activities of their child rather than one. Also, an authoritative parenting style may be ano ther reason why there is a decreased risk of adolescents engaging in risky behaviors when living with the father in the household (Baumrind, 1991) Although it was expected that f emales would be more influenced by father presence on sexual risk taking than males, the reasons are still unclear about the reasons this was found to be untrue. A possible explanation could be the bond that a father and son form naturally that may be more influential on male decision making than female. These results shed light on an important gap in the literature on timing of father presence on risky sexual behavior in adolescence by add ressing the potential importance of the presence of the biological father living in the household. This study found that there was a link between risky sexual behavior in adolescence and the presence of fathers in the home By analyzing data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD), results showed that the length of time that the father lived in the home was negatively associated with the adolescent engaging in risky sexual behaviors and other risk behaviors, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug usage, and suspension from school. Previous researc h conducted by Sturgeon (2008) also conclude d that the more the father lives in the home decreases the chance of the adolescent participating in risky behaviors. It was

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18 found to prove that biological father residing in the home reduce the chance of adolesc ent sexual (Sturgeon, 2008, p. 10). This can be accredited to p ositive communication, parental monitoring, and a strong parent child relationship (Ikramullah, Manlore, Cui, & Moore, 2009; Pearson, Muller, & Frisco, 2006; Parera & Suris, 2004; Bronte Tinkew, Moore, Capps & Zaff, 2006). Since infancy is the start of the father child relationship, it is the foundation for the future of the father child relationship because it is the first stage that the father and child become attached (Harris, 2000). It may be also attributed to good relationships formed between parent a nd child, which has allowed the child to feel more comfortable with communicating with the parent about decisions to engage in risky behaviors (Ikramullah, Manlore, Cui, & Moore, 2009). There are gender differences present in the influence of father prese nce and participation in risk behaviors which confirms previous research (Sturgeon, 2008; Commendador, 2010) and risky behaviors, it was found that males were presence in risky sexual behaviors and other risky behaviors, such as suspension from school and marijuana usage. Previous research conducted by Commendador (2010) was not found to be true, since it had concluded th at females are more likely to delay sexual encounters than males due to parental involvement. Limitations Limitations were present in completing this research thesis. Although research had been conducted previously on this subject, there was little informa tion about the influence of biological fathers on sexual behaviors in adolescence. The majority of the research studies

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19 focused primarily on maternal influences rather than including paternal influences. By using NICHD SECCYD data, it restricted the resear cher from concluding the minimum number of years of father presence in the household that caused long term effects on adolescent development and their decision making on risky sexual behavior. Another limitation to the study was analyzing the data conducte d previously rather than being able to create an original longitudinal study, which prevented further exploration of the association past the age of 15. Though age was a limitation, variability in sexual risk behavior was still present at this age and tha t 1 2.6 % of youth sampled about 1 20 of the 955 reported engaging in oral sex. Since only bivariate correlation were created rather than regression tables, the analysis did not show a sophisticated amount of complexity that could provide further verification of the correlation. There was also a limited amount of research on the explanation between father for the U.S. because the majority of the research available was cond ucted with a New Zealand sa mple. Ellis et al. (2003) found that adolescents from New Zealand were at higher risk for early sexual activity and teen pregnancy due to personal disadvantages associated with father absence, but could not explain the reason for the same heightened risk i n the US sample. Although relationships between the variables were found, it shows only a correlation not c ausation, so the reason for these connections is still unknown. Since the participants were followed for approximately 15 years, the participant rate was skewed because it was different from wave to wave due to participants dropping out of the study.

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20 Implications For Adolescents Although the single mother household has become a norm in our American society, statistics need to be presented to adolescents to show that they can become resilient in regards to their decision to engage in risky sexual behaviors. By introducing abstinence based sex education for younger teens and comprehensive sex education for older te ens, it will be useful for high risk populations, including adolescents from minority, low income, and single parent backgrounds. For Parents With the ongoing changes in the family structure and the increase of single parent households headed by mothers, it is important to realize that the spike in the new STI cases and pregnancy rates among adolescents can be connected with the lack of resources that an absent biological father presents Even if an adolescent is being raised in a single parent household, it is vital to involve the biological father in their lives (even if he does not live with the child) as well as maintaining a steady parental influence to keep the household as stable as possible. I t is necessary for both parents to understand the influence that they ha to engage in sexual activities. It is also important to inform parents that a father home while the child grows up as well as family stability are crucial for positive outcomes for teens and reduces the For Practitioners and Researchers A follow up inquiry to this study, provided hypotheses are confirmed, would be to find additional potential mediators, such as divorce, poverty, conflicting family relationships, di ssolution of parental monitoring and control (Ellis et al., 2003), which explain a relation

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21 risky sexual behavior. Also, there is a need for more research to be conducted in the US because the majority of the current research is based on countries outside of the US, like New Zealand, because researchers, such as Ellis and colleagues (2003) did not find these variables had the same explanatory power for adolescent s in the U.S. as they did for adolescents in New Zealand. Also, researchers need to further examine gender differences in risky behaviors (sexual and otherwise) and how they relate. Also, t he issue of resilience was not analyzed in this study, but it shoul d be the focus for fut ure studies, since adolescents who are raised in households without their father present are more likely to abstain from participating in risky behaviors. Therefore, father presence in the household can be viewed as a protective facto r. By collecting longitudinal data on adolescents and examining those who demonstrate resilience outcomes such as avoiding risky behaviors, more information on the factors that promote resilience for these adolescen ts who avoid risky behavior involvement will be provided.

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22 Result Tables Table 1 Demographic Characteristics of Participants and Families in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development ( N =1364) N % Mean SD Gender Male 705 51.7% Female 659 48.3% Race White 1042 76.4% Hispanic 83 6.1% Black 173 12.7% Other 66 4.8% Income to Needs Ratio (Wave 4, 2002 2003) 979 4.53 4.15 Mean Household Income (Wave 4, 2002 2003) 995 $87,168 $84,745 Table 2 Frequency Table: Father Lives in Household Times of Data Collection from 0 14 years Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid .00 59 4.3 7.3 7.3 1.00 35 2.6 4.3 11.6 2.00 23 1.7 2.9 14.5 3.00 14 1.0 1.7 16.2 4.00 16 1.2 2.0 18.2 5.00 16 1.2 2.0 20.2 6.00 12 .9 1.5 21.7 7.00 11 .8 1.4 23.0 8.00 18 1.3 2.2 25.3 9.00 15 1.1 1.9 27.1 10.00 21 1.5 2.6 29.7 11.00 11 .8 1.4 31.1 12.00 23 1.7 2.9 34.0 13.00 533 39.1 66.0 100.0 Total 807 59.2 100.0 Missing System 557 40.8 Total 1364 100.0 Table 3. Descriptive Statistics for Risk Behaviors in Adolescence (N=1364) Mean Std. Deviation N B een suspended .17 .444 954 S moked cigarett e .17 .489 955 U sed marijuana .14 .453 955 D runk alcohol .34 .637 954 Had sexual intercourse .13 .446 952 Had oral sex .17 .482 951 #partners oral sex entire life .33 .917 948 #partners sex intercourse/life .28 .893 948

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23 Table 4 Pearson Correlations Among Measures: Father Presence and Risky Sexual Behaviors Variable Had Oral Sex Had Sexual Intercourse # Partners Oral Sex # Partners Sexual Intercourse Total ( N =955*) N 757 758 755 756 Correlation .148** .216** .167** .193** Significance .000 .000 .000 .000 Males ( N =477*) N 475 476 472 471 Correlation .155** .242** .193** .211** Significance .000 .000 .000 .000 Females ( N =478*) N 476 476 476 477 Correlation .142** .194** .137** .171** Significance .000 .000 .000 .000 Reflects numbers for whom data is complete at wave 4. **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed). Table 5. Pearson Correlations among Measures: Father Pr esence and Other Risk Behaviors Variable Suspended Smoked cigarette Drank Alcohol Used or smoked marijuana Total ( N =955*) N 954 953 952 953 Correlation .276** .150** .135** .182** Significance .000 .000 .000 .000 Males ( N =477*) N 477 477 476 477 Correlation .315** .103** .136** .201** Significance .000 .000 .000 .000 Females ( N =478*) N 478 477 4788 478 Correlation .229** .195** .136** .165** Significance .000 .000 .008 .001 Reflects numbers for whom data is complete at wave 4. **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed).

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24 References Albrecht, C., & Teachman, J. (2003). Childhood living arrangements and the risk of premarital i ntercourse. Journal of Family Issues 24(7), 867 894. Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competent and substance use. Journal of Early Adolescence, 11 (1), 56 95. Belsky, J., Steinberg, L., & Draper, P. (1991). Childhood experience, interpersonal development, and reproductive strategy: an evolutionary theory of socialization. Child Development, 62 647 670. Boyer, T. W. (2006). The develo pment of risk taking: a multi perspective review. Developmental Review, 26 291 345. Boyer, T. W. & Byrnes, J. P. (2009). Adolescent risk taking: Integrating personal, cognitive, and social aspects of judgment. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30 23 33. Bronte Tinkew, J., Moore, K., Capps, R., & Zaff, J. (2006). The influence of father involvement on youth risk behaviors among behaviors among adolescents: a comparison of native born and immigrant families. Social Science Research, 35 181 209. Brooks Gunn, J., & Furstenberg, F. (1989). Adolescent sexual behavior. American Psychologist, 44 (2), 249 57. Brooks Gunn, J., & Paikoff, R.L. (1991). Promoting health behavior in adolescence: The case of sexuality and pregnancy. Bulletin of New York Academy of Medicine, 67 (6), 427 547 Brown, S.L, & Rinelli, L.N. (2010). Family structure, family processes, and adolescent smoking and drinking. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20 (2), 259 273. Browning, C.R., Burrington, L.A., Leventhal, T ., & Brooks Gunn, J. (2008). Neighborhood structural inequality, collective efficacy, and sexual risk behavior among urban youth. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 49 (3), 269 285. Casper, L. M., & Bianchi, S. M. (2002). Continuity and change in the American family. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Cavanagh, S. E. (2008). Family structure history and adolescent adjustment. Journal of Family Issues, 29 (7) 944 980. Cavanagh, S. E., & development. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70 1258 1269. Child Trends. (2009). Facts at a glance: a fact sheet reporting national, state, and city trends in teen childbearin g. Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends 2009_08_31_FG_Edition.pdf Comings, D., Muhleman, D., Johnson, J., & MacMurray, J. (2002). Parent daughter transmission of the adrogen receptor gene as an explanation of the eff ect of father absence on age of menarche. Child Development, 73 (4), 1046 1051. Commendador, K. A. (2007). The relationship between female adolescent self esteem, decision making, and contraceptive behavior. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Pract itioners, 19 614 623. Commendador, K. A. (2010). Parental influences on adolescent decision making and contraceptive use. Pediatric Nursing, 36 (3), 147 170. Crockett, L. J., Raffaelli, M., & Shen, Y. (2006). Linking self regulation and risk proneness to risky sexual behavior: pathways through peer pressure and early substance use. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16 (4), 503 525. DeLisi, M., Wright, J. P., Vaughn, M. G., & Beaver, K. M. (2009). Nature and nurture by

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25 definition means both: a response to males. Journal of Adolescent Research, 25 (1), 24 30. Eaves, L., Prom, E. C., & Silberg, J. L. (2010). The mediating effect of parental neglect on adolescent and young adult anti sociality: a longitudinal study of twins and their parents. Behav Genet 40 425 437. Ellis, B. J., Bates, J E. Dodge, K A. Fergusson, D M. Horwood, J. L. Pettit, G S. & Woodward, L (2003). Does father absence place daughters at special risk for early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy? Child Development, 74 (3), 801 821. Grunbaum, J. A., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., & Lowry, R., et al. (2004). Youth risk behavior surveillance United States, 2003. In Surveillance Summaries, May 21, 2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 53 (No. SS 2). Guo, J., Chung, I., Hill, K. G. (2002). Developmental relationships between adolescent substance use and risky sexual behavior in young adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31 (4), 354 362. Harris, J. R. (2000). The outcome of parenting: What do we really know? Journal of Personality, 68 (3), 625 637. Hofferth, S. L. & Goldscheider, F. (2010). Family structure and transition to early parenthood. Demography, 47 (2), 415 437. Ikramullah, E., Manlove, J., Cui, C., & Moore, K. A. (2009). Parents matter: the ro le of parents Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends 2009_11_11_RB_Parents&TeenSex.pdf Levine, J. A., Emery, C. R., & Pollack, H. (2007). The well being of children born to teen mothers Journal of Marriage and Family, 69 105 122. Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Sutton, P. D., Ventura, S. J., Menacker, F., Kirmeyer, S., & Mathews, T. J. (2009). Births: final data for 2006. National Vital Statistics Reports, 57 (7 ) 1 7. McLafferty, C. nurture paradigm. American Psychologist, 61 (2), 177 178. Moore, K., Manlove, J., Terry Humen, E.,Williams, S., Papillo, A. R., & Scarpa, J. (2001). Child trends: Facts at a glance 2001. Retrie ved on February 16, 2011, from Child TrendsWeb site: www.childtrends.org National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. (2010). Teen sexual behavior and contraceptive use: data from the youth risk behavior survey, 2009. Retrieved from http:/ /www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends 2009_11_11_RB_Parents&TeenSex.pdf NICHD. (2010, October 19). NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD). NICHD The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Retrieved April 8, 2011, from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/seccyd.cfm Oman, R. F., Vesely, S. K., & Aspy, C. B. (2005). Youth Assets and Sexual Risk Behavior: The Importance Of Assets for Youth Residing in One Parent Households. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health 37(1), 25 31. Parera, N. & Suris, J. (2004). Having a good relationship with their mother a protective factor against sexual risk behavi or among adolescent families. J Pediatric Adolesc Glynecol, 17 267 271. Pearson, J., Muller, C., & Frisco, M.L. (2006). Parental involvement, family structure, and adolescent sexual decision making. Sociological Perspectives, 49 (1), 67 90.

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26 Salmon, A. K (2008). Promoting a culture of thinking in the young child. Early Childhood Educ J, 35 457 461. Santelli, J. S., Lindberg, L.D., Abma, J., McNeely, C.S., & Resnick, M. (2000). Adolescent sexual behavior: Estimates and trends from four nationally rep resentative surveys. Family Planning Perspective, 32 (4), 156 165. Sturgeon, S. W. (2008). The relationship between family structure and adolescent sexual activity. Retrieved on February 1, 2011, from http://www.familyfacts.org/featuredfinding/ff_01.pdf S ulak, P. J. (2004). Adolescent sexual health. Journal of Family Practice Supplement, S3 S4. Teyber, E. (2001). Helping children cope with divorce San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Wellings, K., Collumbien, M., Slaymaker, E., Singh, S., Hodges, Z., Patel, D., & Bajos, N. (2006). Sexual behaviour in context: a global perspective. Lancet 368(9548), 1706 1728. doi:10.1016/S0140 6736(06)69479 8 Wildsmith, E., Schelar, E., Peterson, K., & Manlove, J. (2010). Sexually transmitted diseases among young adults: Prevalence, perceived risk, and risk taking behaviors. Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends 2010_05_01_RB_STD.pdf. Wong, M. S., Brown, G. L., Mangelsdorf, S. C., & Neff, C. (2009). Parental beliefs, i nfant temperament, and marital quality: Associations with infant mother and infant father attachment. Journal of Family Psychology, 23 (6), 828 838. Xiamong, L., Feigelman, S., & Stanton, B. (2000). Perceived parental monitoring and health risk behaviors among urban low income African American children and adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 27 43 48. Youngblade, L. M., Curry, L. A., Novak, M., Vogel, B., & Shenkman, E. A. (2006). The impact of community risks and resources on adolesce nt risky behavior and health care expenditures. Journal of Adolescent Health, 38, 486 494.

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27 Appendix A Frequency Tables for Sexual Risk Behaviors and Other Risk Behaviors Table A. Frequency Table in past year: had oral sex Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 831 60.9 87.4 87.4 Once or twice 77 5.6 8.1 95.5 More than twice 43 3.2 4.5 100.0 Total 951 69.7 100.0 Missing System 413 30.3 Total 1364 100.0 Table B. Frequency Table in past year: had sexual intercourse Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 863 63.3 90.7 90.7 Once or twice 50 3.7 5.3 95.9 More than twice 39 2.9 4.1 100.0 Total 952 69.8 100.0 Missing System 412 30.2 Total 1364 100.0 Table C. Frequency Table in past year: got pregnant/ got girl pregnant Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 947 69.4 99.4 99.4 Once or twice 5 .4 .5 99.9 More than twice 1 .1 .1 100.0 Total 953 69.9 100.0 Missing System 411 30.1 Total 1364 100.0 Table D. Frequency Table in past year: told doctor/ nurse had STD Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 952 69.8 99.7 99.7 Once or twice 2 .1 .2 99.9 More than twice 1 .1 .1 100.0 Total 955 70.0 100.0 Missing System 409 30.0 Total 1364 100.0

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28 Table E. Frequency Table: in past year, been suspended from school Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 816 59.8 85.5 85.5 Once or twice 112 8.2 11.7 97.3 More than twice 26 1.9 2.7 100.0 Total 954 69.9 100.0 Missing System 410 30.1 Total 1364 100.0 Table F Frequency Table: in past year, smoked cigarette or used tobacco Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 841 61.7 88.1 88.1 Once or twice 67 4.9 7.0 95.1 More than twice 47 3.4 4.9 100.0 Total 955 70.0 100.0 Missing System 409 30.0 Total 1364 100.0 Table G Frequency Table: in past year, drunk bottle/ glass of alcohol Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 721 52.9 75.6 75.6 Once or twice 146 10.7 15.3 90.9 More than twice 87 6.4 9.1 100.0 Total 954 69.9 100.0 Missing System 410 30.1 Total 1364 100.0 Table H Frequency Table: in past year, used or smoked marijuana Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Never 860 63.0 90.1 90.1 Once or twice 55 4.0 5.8 95.8 More than twice 40 2.9 4.2 100.0 Total 955 70.0 100.0 Missing System 409 30.0 Total 1364 100.0

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29 Appendix B Survey Questions Question Never Once or twice More than twice Been suspended or expelled from school 0 1 2 Smoked cigarettes or used tobacco 0 1 2 Drunk a bottle or glass of beer or other alcohol 0 1 2 Used or smoked marijuana (pot, grass, weed) 0 1 2 Had oral sex 0 1 2 Had sexual intercourse (going all the way) 0 1 2 How many different partners have you had ORAL SEX with ... in your entire life 0 1 2 3 4 5 ... in the last 30 days 0 1 2 3 4 5 ... in your entire life 0 1 2 3 4 5 ... in the last 30 days 0 1 2 3 4 5


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