In this journal article, Dr. Grossman, Dr. Black, Richer, and Dr. Lynch investigated the role fathers play in regards to their children's sexual risk behavior, particularly for children of teen mothers, who show a greater likelihood of risky sexual behaviors than those with older mothers. They studied associations between residential fathers' parenting -- communication, disapproval of teen sexual behavior, parental presence, and closeness -- during adolescence and sexual risk behaviors reported by their children as young adults. Using a national data set, they examined whether and how residential fathers' parenting relates to their children's sexual risk behavior (independent of mothers' parenting), and whether these associations differ depending on the child's gender and for children of teen mothers or older mothers.
They found that adolescents' perceptions of higher father disapproval of teen sexual behavior predicted lower levels of sexual risk behavior during emerging adulthood. There were no significant differences across emerging adults' gender or for children of teen mothers relative to older mothers. This suggests that teens' relationships with their fathers during adolescence are important for their future sexual health.