Shay Bilchik, Administrator January 2000

Teenage Fatherhood and Delinquent Behavior

Terence P. Thornberry, Evelyn H. Wei, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, and Joyce Van Dyke


Rochester Youth Development Study

Pittsburgh Youth Study

Pittsburgh Study: Sample and Methodology

Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency



For Further Information



Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.


From the Administrator

Much has been written about the negative consequences of teen motherhood for both mother and child, but little attention has been paid to teenage fathers. The research described in this Bulletin lays the groundwork for a closer look at the problems of teenage fathers and their children.

The Rochester Youth Development Study and the Pittsburgh Youth Study examined risk factors for teenage paternity, specifically the role of delinquency in early fatherhood. Both studies concluded that early delinquency is a highly significant risk factor for becoming a teen father. In addition, the Rochester study reported that the possibility of teen paternity rises dramatically as risk factors accumulate, and the Pittsburgh study found that teen fatherhood may be followed by greater involvement in delinquency.

More studies are needed to identify the path to teen fatherhood and its long-term impact on individuals and society. This research will help us determine what policies and programs will be most effective in providing positive alternatives for teenage boys and helping them realize that the decision to postpone fatherhood will lead to a brighter future for them and for the children they may someday have.

Shay Bilchik


NCJ 178899

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