The impact of fathers' absence on African American adolescents' gender role development

Jelani Mandara, Carolyn B. Murray, Toya N. Joyner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-220
Number of pages14
JournalSex Roles
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • African American adolescents
  • Father's absence
  • Gender role development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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