The Journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society published this disturbing fact:
Women whose parents separated between birth and six years old experienced twice the risk of early menstruation, more than four times the risk of early sexual intercourse, and two and a half times higher risk of early pregnancy when compared to women in intact families. The longer a woman lived with both parents, the lower her risk of early reproductive development. Women who experienced three or more changes in her family environment exhibited similar risks but were five times more likely to have an early pregnancy.*
Single moms & single teenage moms
Unfortunately, single mothers raised girls also experienced the heightened risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree and marrying someone who has less than a high school degree. The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy. Evidence supporting this trend is extensive.
According to Rachel Nowak’s article, “Absent Fathers Linked to Teenage Pregnancies,” unintended pregnancies can be traced to father absence. A girl growing up in a fatherless home may be prone to sexually promiscuous behavior. This experience spikes the teenage pregnancy rate in the United States. Studies have shown how the age the father became absent significantly influenced the outcome of the daughter’s life.
Father’s Absence and Teenage Pregnancy
In the article, “Father’s Absence Increases Daughter’s Risk of Teenage Pregnancy, “girls whose fathers left the family earlier in their lives had the highest rates of both early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy, followed by those whose fathers left at a later age, followed by girls whose fathers were present.” As a result, Teenage pregnancy and father absence are linked mainly because of the theory that earlier menstruation can occur because of the stress or anxiety. A significant shift in the household or mirroring their mother’s behavior explains the stress.
Another study published in 2008, conducted with 90 families, showed more exposure to family absence was linked to earlier puberty. The psychological effect of the father’s absence on the daughter jumpstarts the girl’s experiences with males. Moreover, girls raised in the absence of fathers tend to sit closer to and interact more readily with men. This evidence seems to support the common assumption that girls without fathers seek male attention to fill the void in their lives. However, it may surprise them that the mothers can also influence their early sexual behavior, resulting in unplanned pregnancies.
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*Quinlan, Robert J. “Father absence, parental care, and female reproductive development.” Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (November 2003): 376-390.