The impact of African American fathers on adolescent sexual behavior

Patricia J. Dittus, James Jaccard, Vivian V. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A common finding in past research on adolescent sexual behavior is that initiation of sexual intercourse is more frequent in households where the teen does not live with both biological parents. The present study examined this result in greater depth by examining the impact that father attitudes toward premarital sexual intercourse have on the sexual behavior of the father's adolescent. Approximately 750 inner-city African American youth between the ages of 14 and 17 were interviewed in a survey on parent-teen communication. Results showed that adolescent perceptions of paternal attitudes were predictive of teen sexual behavior independent of adolescent perceptions of maternal attitudes and that the effects of live-in status on sexual behavior were mediated by adolescent perceptions of paternal attitudes. This result was robust across gender and age of the adolescent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-465
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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