Abstract: WITHDRAWN Residential Black Fathersâ₀™ Engagement As a Protective Mechanism for Sexual Outcomes Among Black Adolescent Females (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

520P WITHDRAWN Residential Black Fathersâ₀™ Engagement As a Protective Mechanism for Sexual Outcomes Among Black Adolescent Females

Saturday, January 15, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Marquitta Dorsey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Loyola University, Chicago, Chicago, IL
Tyrone Parchment, PhD, Assistant Professor, Boston College School of Social Work, MA
Brianna Lemmons, PhD, Assistant Professor, Baylor University, TX
Background and Purpose

Traditionally, Black fathers have not been viewed as assets to the developmental processes of adolescent females; instead, more attention has been given to the role of mothers in a daughter’s sexual health. Sexual health disparities that frequently characterize the lives of Black adolescent females warrant attention to culturally relevant protective factors applied early in life, particularly since these disparities often continue into young adulthood. The paternal investment theory posits that the presence of a father during developmental years matters to the delay in sexual activity. Few studies have examined the engagement of residential Black fathers with their daughters and thus have not adequately operationalized the value of Black paternal presence to a daughter’s development. By asking the research question “does father engagement by resident Black fathers predict certain pregnancy outcomes for Black adolescent females?”, we hypothesize that variation in paternal engagement (IV) will significantly reduce the odds of experiencing a live birth (DV) during adolescent years.


Logistic regression analysis was utilized to examine responses at Wave II and Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), 1994-2008 (ICPSR 21600). Data used for this study included 299 Black females who were between the ages of 13 to 22 in Wave II, and 19 to 28 in Wave III, who responded to questionnaire items in an in-home questionnaire related to the type of engagement and closeness to their resident father/father figure. Some engagement included conversation about school, and steady partnerships.


In Wave II, when a father talked about school related topics, daughters experienced a decreased odd of having a live birth in Wave 3 (b = -.646, SE = .280, p = .021). Black daughters in Wave II who indicated that their father approved of them having sex with a steady partner had decreased odds (.238) of a live birth (b = -1.434, SE = 686, p = .037). During Wave III, Black daughters who enjoyed doing things with their dad had increased odds of having a live birth as a young adult (i.e., miscarriage/abortion; b = -.771, SE = .344, p = .025). Lastly, In Wave III, Black daughters who reported closeness with their father, were more likely to have a live birth than miscarriage/abortion (b = -.609, SE = .255, p = .017) as a young adult.

Conclusions and Implications

As indicated by paternal investment theory, paternal presence matters to a delay in sexual activity. Delays in early sexual activity have implications for reduced sexual health disparities during adolescence and the potential for greater support during young adulthood. These findings help to shed light on the critical elements of residential Black fatherhood, particularly concerning Black daughters’ sexual outcomes. Future research on the relationship between residential Black paternal engagement and daughters’ sexual outcomes may help to inform culturally relevant, fatherhood and sexual health interventions involving both residential and non-residential Black fathers. Such paternal engagement may have positive implications for a daughter’s sexual activity during Covid-19 quarantine conditions.