ERIC Number: EJ850467
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
Father Absence, Menarche and Interest in Infants among Adolescent Girls
Maestripieri, Dario; Roney, James R.; Debias, Nicole; Durante, Kristina M.; Spaepen, Geertrui M.
Developmental Science, v7 n5 p560-566 Nov 2004
In this study we examined the relationship between menarche and interest in infants among adolescent girls, and the effects of early environment, particularly of father absence from home, on both variables. Eighty-three girls ranging in age from between 11 and 14 years served as study participants. Interest in infants was assessed through their preferences for photos and silhouettes of animal and human faces of infants versus adults. Information on menarche and the early family environment was obtained with questionnaires and interviews. Variation in menarcheal status or timing of menarche was associated with some differences in interest in infants. There was little or no evidence, however, that suggested a direct causal relationship between these variables. Instead, both menarche and interest in infants were independently associated with early father absence from home such that father-absent girls exhibited earlier menarche and greater attraction to infant visual stimuli than father-present girls. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that father absence is associated with a developmental trajectory characterized by earlier readiness for reproduction and parenting.
Descriptors: Visual Stimuli, Females, Fatherless Family, Infants, Family Environment, Fathers, Early Adolescents, Correlation, Puberty, Adolescent Development, Interests, Parent Influence, Pictorial Stimuli, Child Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A