Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Father absence predicts age at sexual maturity and reproductive timing in British men

By Paula Sheppard and Rebecca Sear

Abstract

Despite the widespread assumption that paternal investment is substantial in our species, previous studies have shown mixed results in relation to the impact of fathers on both offspring survival and reproductive outcomes. Using data from a large representative sample of British men, we tested whether father absence is associated with the timing of reproduction-related events among boys, while controlling for various cues denoting early childhood adversity. We further tested whether the loss of the father at different childhood stages matters, so as to assess whether early life is the most important period or if effects can be seen during later childhood. The results show that father absence before age seven is associated with early reproduction, while father absence between ages 11 and 16 only is associated with delayed voice-breaking (a proxy for puberty), even after adjusting for other factors denoting childhood adversity. We conclude that fathers do exert an influence on male reproductive outcomes, independently of other childhood adversities and that these effects are sensitive to the timing of father absence

Topics: H Social Sciences (General), HQ The family. Marriage. Woman, QH301 Biology
Publisher: The Royal Society
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0747
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:38239
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (2005). Age at puberty and father absence in a national probability sample. doi
  2. (2007). Age at voice break in Danish boys: effects of pre-pubertal body mass index and secular trend. doi
  3. (2010). Birthweight and paternal involvement predict early reproduction in British women: Evidence from the National Child Development Study. doi
  4. (1992). Childhood Experience and the Onset of Menarche: A Test of a Sociobiological Model. Child Development. doi
  5. (1991). Childhood Experience, Interpersonal Development, and Reproductive Strategy: An Evolutionary Theory of Socialization. doi
  6. (2003). Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy? Child Development. doi
  7. (2011). Early-life conditions and age at first pregnancy in British women. doi
  8. (1998). Environmentally Contingent Reproductive Strategies in Mayan and Ache Males. Evolution and Human Behavior. doi
  9. (2000). Evolution and proximate expression of human paternal investment. doi
  10. (2003). Evolutionary perspectives on pregnancy: maternal age at menarche and infant birth weight. doi
  11. (1982). Father Absence and Reproductive Strategy: An Evolutionary Perspective.
  12. (2011). Father death and adult success among the Tsimane: implications for marriage and divorce. doi
  13. (2010). Fathers' Presence Speeds the Social and Reproductive Careers of Sons. doi
  14. (1998). Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life doi
  15. (2011). How Much Does Family Matter? Cooperative Breeding and the Demographic Transition. Population and Development Review. doi
  16. (2002). Is Obesity Associated With Early Sexual Maturation? doi
  17. (2001). Maturational timing and overweight prevalence in US adolescent girls. doi
  18. (2002). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. doi
  19. (2002). Parent-Daughter Transmission of the Androgen Receptor Gene as an Explanation of the Effect of Father Absence on Age of Menarche. doi
  20. (1983). Parental investment: The hominid adaptation. In How humans adapt: A bio-cultural odyssey.
  21. (2010). Rapid weight gain after birth predicts life history and reproductive strategy in Filipino males. doi
  22. (1995). Reproductive ecology of human males. doi
  23. (2007). The Family Structure Trajectory and Adolescent School Performance. doi
  24. (1992). The Impact of Family Disruption in Childhood on Transitions Made in Young Adult Life. Population Studies. doi
  25. (2008). Who keeps children alive? A review of the effects of kin on child survival. Evolution and Human Behavior. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.