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Note to dads: Good parenting makes a difference
Date:6/14/2011

sisters spent an average of 7 more years living with their fathers, compared with their younger sisters. The study examined the effects of this different exposure to the dad.

"It turned out that it didn't matter that much how long each daughter lived with her father, but rather what he did when he was there," said Ellis. Comparing sisters in the same family, the study showed that living for longer periods of time with a dad who provided high-quality fathering reduced risky sexual behavior.

More time with a dad who provided low-quality fathering actually increased risky sexual behavior. Quality of fathering was rated by the sisters, who largely agreed on how the dad acted towards them, whether warm and supportive or harsh and abusive.

The study also supported the hypothesis that higher quality father-daughter relationships are uniquely protective against risky sexual behavior. Variation around the lower end of father-daughter relationship quality appeared to have the greatest influence. Risky sex included such behaviors as sex without a condom, having sex while intoxicated, multiple sexual partners and becoming pregnant before age 19.

Ellis said that results from the relatively small study provide important directions for future research. "It will be especially important in future research to study larger numbers of divorced families in which older and younger sisters are differentially exposed to important dimensions of paternal behavior.

"This could include such factors as differential exposure to stepfathers and sexual abuse, differential exposure to socioeconomic conditions, different experiences of parental monitoring, and so forth. Future research is needed to identify these intervening pathways."


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Contact: Bruce J. Ellis
bjellis@email.arizona.edu
520-626-5703
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert

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