Date of Conferral







Steven G. Little


Father absence is the experience of children who grow up in households without their biological father. The African American population experiences the highest level of father absence of all demographic groups in the United States. Research shows that father absence influences school behavior. There is a lack of literature evaluating the extent to which father absence affects children, particularly African American boys, at different stages of development. This quantitative study was used to evaluate how father absence affected school behavior of African American boys, ages 13-15, in the middle school setting, in Houston, TX. Guided by attachment theory, the research question for this study asked how father absence impacts the school behavior of African American boys between the ages of 13 and 15 from mother-only homes when compared to school behavior of African American boys from intact families. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to examine overall and types of externalizing behavior of 60 purposive sampled participants identified from the Child Behavior Checklist-Teacher Report Scale subscales. Results indicated that African American boys from father absent homes displayed an overall higher rate of externalizing behavior than same- aged peers from intact families on all 3 dependent variables (Overall, Rule-Breaking, and Aggressive Behavior). This study is an important contribution to the existing literature and enhances social change initiatives by bringing increased focus on school behavior, adolescent behavior, middle school practices, and behavior interventions. Specifically, the results of this study can be used by educational stakeholders to develop early intervention and prevention programs to address behaviors associated with the absent father experience.