In a new study conducted by Northwestern University and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health considers if the sexual attitudes and behaviors of adolescent boys influences the kind of fathers they’ll become.
Dr. Craig Garfield, an assoicate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern, co-authored the study. In a EurekAlert! press alert, Garfield states, “I was very surprised that, based on what adolescent males tell us in their teenage years, we could predict whether they would later become a teen father or a nonresident father.”
The group of 10,000+ teenage and young adult males who participated in the study were asked to respond to statements such as, “If you had sexual intercourse, your friends would respect you more.” and “using birth control interferes with sexual enjoyment.”
Researchers then followed up with the group twenty years later to examine whether each participant had a child, at what age, and if he lived with the child’s mother. Medical Daily summarized the findings:
Those who practiced riskier sexual behavior “significantly increased” their odds of becoming a nonresident father. … These findings served as a way to predict the likelihood of young men becoming fathers in their teenage years. But they also show a correlation between boys’ attitudes about sex and the type of fathers they’d grow up to be 14 years later.
As teen fathers are more likely to require public assistance, be employed in low-income jobs, and drop out of school, understanding and recognizing these indicators could be an important tool in preventing future teen and nonresident fathers.