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Keywords:

  • adolescent delinquency;
  • adolescent depression;
  • African American families;
  • father involvement;
  • father-daughter relationships;
  • parent-child attachment

This study examines the role of biological and social fathers in the lives of low-income African American adolescent girls (N= 302). Sixty-five percent of adolescents identified a primary father; two thirds were biological and one third were social fathers. Adolescents reported more contentious and less close relationships with biological than with social fathers. Multivariate regression analyses indicated that daughters' perceptions of anger and alienation from fathers was related to greater emotional and behavioral problems for adolescents, whereas perceptions of trust and communication with fathers were not predictive of youth outcomes. These relationships were generally similar for biological and social fathers, but differed according to fathers' level of contact with their daughters. A combination of low contact and high levels of either anger or trust in the daughter-father relationship related to particularly deleterious psychosocial outcomes for adolescent girls.