The Intergenerational Continuity of Fathers' Absence in a Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Sample

Authors


  • School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Vanier Hall, 275 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5 Canada.

  • Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Loyola Campus, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Québec H4B 1R6 Canada.

Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Loyola Campus, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Québec H4B 1R6 Canada (erinpougnet@crdh.concordia.ca).

Abstract

Fathers' absence is a pattern that shows intergenerational continuity, most notably within disadvantaged populations. The process whereby this pattern is repeated across generations is not well understood. Using data from the Concordia Longitudinal Risk Project, the authors investigated pathways between fathers' absence in 1 generation and the experience of fathers' absence by their children. The current sample included 386 socioeconomically at-risk individuals across 2 waves of data collection: (a) when they were children and (b) when they were adults with their own children. Analyses based on structural equation modeling revealed that men whose fathers were absent when they were children were more likely to become absent fathers, and women whose fathers were absent when they were children were more likely to have children with absent partners. Indirect pathways between fathers' absence in 2 generations through aggression, education, and substance abuse were illustrated for women. These findings add to the literature suggesting that fathers' absence during childhood has intergenerational effects.

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