Consequences of Divorce-Based Father Absence During Childhood for Young Adult Well-Being and Romantic Relationships

Hanita Reuven-Krispin, Dana Lassri*, Patrick Luyten, Golan Shahar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: This research explores the implications of father absence due to divorce on young adults' well-being and romantic relationships. Background: Studies have demonstrated the negative implications of father absence, a common consequence of divorce, on children's development. However, previous research has not systematically compared complete versus partial father absence. Method: Young adults who, as children, experienced complete (n = 38) or partial (n = 41) father absence were compared with 40 participants in a father-presence control group. Results: Compared with those in the control group, young adults in the partial father-absence group reported higher psychopathology and maternal overprotection, and lower maternal care, romantic intimacy, commitment, and passion. Under elevated maternal care, the partial-absence group reported lower dyadic adjustment and consolidated sense of identity. Participants in the complete-absence group reported higher self-criticism and maternal overprotection and lower maternal care than controls. Conclusion: Partial father absence might have particularly pernicious consequences for young adults' well-being. Implications: Clinical and public policy implications are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)452-466
Number of pages15
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Family Relations published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of National Council on Family Relations.


  • divorce
  • father absence
  • psychopathology
  • romantic relationships
  • young adulthood


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