Daughter’s Sexual Behavior Influenced By Relationship With Dad

father-and-daughter-Nikk-flickr.jpg

The known association between father involvement and a daughter’s sexual behavior may not just be owed to genetics, according to a University of Utah study.

The Utah researchers looked at pairs of sisters who spent varied amounts of time living with their fathers. The effect of a father’s parenting quality was isolated by controlling for the daughter’s genetic inheritance and lifestyle conditions, including religious affiliation, and socioeconomic status.

The study results suggest the quality of father-daughter relationships have a direct effect on the supervision a daughter receives, and her choice of peers.

“It's not enough for a dad to just be in the home,” said lead researcher Danielle J. DelPriore, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Utah. “The quality of a father's relationship with his daughter has implications for both the overall monitoring she receives from her parents as well as her likelihood of affiliating with more promiscuous or more prosocial friends.”

The investigators compared the experience of older and younger sisters whose parents divorced, or separated while the siblings were growing up, so the older daughters had more time living with their fathers. There was at least a four-year age difference between the sisters.

Data analysis revealed that older sisters were greatly influenced by their father’s quality of parenting. High-quality fathering was associated with increased parental supervision and less incidence of choosing sexually risky friends during adolescence, when compared to the younger sisters. When older sisters experienced low-quality fathering the opposite was found.

These findings suggest that reducing female teens' risky sexual behavior should involve facilitating relationships with prosocial peers, teaching parenting skills, and improving teen-parent communications.

“There is a lot of emphasis on the effects of divorce and parental separation on children, but this research shows that what may be more important, at least in this case, is what dad is doing while he is in the home,” said DelPriore.

Source: University of Utah
Photo credit: Nikk


 
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