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ERIC Number: ED454971
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Aug
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Absence of Father: Effects on Children's Development and Family Functioning.
Gadsden, Vivian L.
Noting that the inherent stressors associated with single parenting and the practical advantages of having another parent share the decision-making and emotional responsibility for children are supported by considerable research, this paper examines the effects of single parenthood on children's social and cognitive development and family functioning, focusing on children in low-income, female-headed households. Topics discussed in the paper are: (1) cultural context, social need, and family functioning; (2) the nature of social need in young, female-headed households; (3) effects of father absence on family adjustment; (4) economic effects and stress; (5) poverty and single-parent homes; (6) developmental and social issues; (7) self-esteem, emotional development, and academic achievement; and (8) social development. The paper advocates the implementation of public policies built upon the premise of "kin" as a comprehensive family form of biological and non-biological supports. The paper asserts that there are competing and inconsistent data on whether children in two-parent families fare better than children in single-parent families. However, poverty is identified as a major obstacle to family functioning in single- and two-parent households. The paper also suggests that the impact of experiencing poverty and observing undue stress may be underestimated for children in poverty and in single-parent, father-absent homes. Finally, the paper asserts that policies are necessary that promote and advance the notion of community responsibilities for children. (Contains 118 references.) (KB)
National Center on Fathers and Families, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, 3700 Walnut Street, Box 58, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6216. Tel: 215-573-5500; Fax: 215-573-5508; e-mail: For full text:
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Authoring Institution: Pennsylvania Univ., Philadelphia. National Center on Fathers and Families.