Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Father Absence

  • Lynda Boothroyd
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_103-1


The term “father absence” is generally taken to indicate that an individual has spent some or all of their childhood with a nonresident biological father. While this can be due to paternal death, the majority of research concentrates on cases of nonresident fathers who are separated from (or were never pair bonded with) the individual’s mother.


Evolutionary research into the impacts of father absence on offspring has largely fallen into two camps, which one might roughly characterize as developmental psychology versus behavioral ecologically, respectively, and investigated two sets of outcomes: offspring reproductive outcomes and offspring condition.

Reproductive Development of Offspring

A considerable body of work has amassed investigating the reproductive outcomes of children (mainly daughters) of father-absent households in the West. Although interest in the links between father absence and girls’ sexual behavior dates back to developmental psychologist...


Reproductive Development Biological Father Offspring Survival Father Absence Early Menarche 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK