Associations between father presence in the home and delayed adolescent sexual activity is well established among middle-class populations. However, considering the prevalence of nonresident fathers among Black households, it is necessary to explore whether such associations extend to early adolescent births for Black adolescent females, and whether mother’s timing of sexual debut and level of education confirm previous findings and predict early teen birth outcomes among Black females, who disproportionately represent the second highest teen birth rate (Hamilton, Rossen & Branum, 2016). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges researchers to explore within group differences among groups of adolescent females to further understand race disparities among teen birth rates. Results from logistic regression analysis using a subsample of Black females (n=1,913) from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth dataset, indicate that the odds of giving birth during adolescence were twice as likely for those who grew up in homes where the father was considered absent, than for those who did not. Understanding paternal presence as a protective factor to early births of Black adolescent females suggest important implications for family interventions, policies and research related to the role of Black father in the lives of Black adolescent daughters.

Key Take Away Points

  • Black nonresident fathers are important for preventing early teen births in their daughters
  • Black nonresident fathers presence is a protective factor for teen births among black adolescent females
  • Important implications for family practitioners and teen birth prevention programs aiming to serve Black adolescent females
  • Black adolescent females are the 2nd largest group of teen mothers and live among the highest prevalence of nonresident father homes

Author Biography

Marquitta Dorsey is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago where she obtained her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on determining protective factors that matter to the sexual behavior and decision-making of Black adolescent females who live in low-income communities. She expects this line of research to inform interventions and theoretical frameworks most relevant to Black adolescent females who navigate various ecological circumstances such as community violence or diverse familial support systems.


I would like to acknowledge the support of Aurora P. Jackson, Ph.D., for mentorship during the initial stages of this study.