Sex Roles

, Volume 53, Issue 3–4, pp 207–220 | Cite as

The Impact of Fathers' Absence on African American Adolescents' Gender Role Development

  • Jelani MandaraEmail author
  • Carolyn B. Murray
  • Toya N. Joyner


Gender role development was assessed in 52 father-absent and 54 father-present African American adolescents. Father-present boys, especially those from lower-income backgrounds, had higher perceptions of their masculinity than did father-absent boys. Lower income father-absent girls perceived themselves to be higher in masculinity than did all other girls. Consequently, father-present adolescents tended to have more traditional gender role orientations than did those in father-absent homes. It is argued that mothers' and fathers' different socializing strategies balance out in two-parent homes. However, in father-absent homes, mothers' tendency to rely on and pressure their daughters fosters relatively more masculine girls, whereas a lack of father socialization fosters less masculine boys. Implications for theory and future research are also discussed.


gender role development father's absence African American adolescents 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelani Mandara
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Carolyn B. Murray
    • 2
  • Toya N. Joyner
    • 2
  1. 1.Northwestern UniversityEvanston
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaRiverside
  3. 3.Program in Human Development and Social PolicyNorthwestern UniversityEvanston

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