Journal Article: Father-absense and scholastic performance in primary school children


Academic Achievement, Elementary School Students, Father Absence, Human Sex Differences


Vandamme, Thomas H.; Schwartz, Steven




Studied the relationship between father absence and academic achievement in 21 females and 19 males from father-present (FP) homes and 21 females and 19 males from father-absent (FA) homes, all of whom were aged 8–12 yrs and of predominantly lower socioeconomic status (SES). Ss completed a battery of psychometric tests, including the Progressive Matrices, the Stanford Diagnostic Arithmetic Test—Levels I and II (Form W) and the GAP Reading Comprehension Test. Differences between the FP and FA groups in IQ and family background were controlled by matching. Ss from FP homes scored higher on standardized reading tests than did Ss from FA homes, regardless of the S's age when the father became absent. Mediating variables by which father absence may exert its influence (achievement motivation, absenteeism, parental attitudes, sex-role identity, and life stress) were also examined. Contrary to predictions, Ss from FA homes scored higher on achievement motivation measures than did Ss from intact homes. Girls from FA homes missed more school and scored lower on tests of masculinity than did girls raised in FP homes. No other mediating variables exerted a significant influence on the results. Data are discussed in terms of R. B. Zajonc and G. Marcus's (see record 1975-09290-001) confluence theory of cognitive development. (32 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA )


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