Fatherless America: Does It Matter?

by Maggie Gallagher

Sarah McLanahan and colleagues have published a review of the latest evidence on “The Causal Effects of Father Absence” in the Annual Review of Sociology (July 2013) which looks at 47 studies that attempt to separate causality and correlation. Their conclusion:

Our assessment is that studies using more rigorous designs continue to find negative effects of father absence on offspring well-being, although the magnitude of these effects is smaller than what is found using traditional cross-sectional designs. The evidence is strongest and most consistent for outcomes such as high school graduation, children’s social-emotional adjustment, and adult mental health.

H/T Family Studies blog.