Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson


This study bridges the gap in literature about the impact of father absence on female adult attachment and current stress levels. A sample of 666 female college students between the ages of 18 and 22 at the University of Kentucky was recruited to complete an online survey about their experience with their fathers and the effects on their attachment and stress levels, while assessing the age of their first sexual experience. Father absence seems to be a significant predictor of earlier sexual activity among females and anxious attachment styles, along with higher stress levels. When the father is absent from the home, females have sex earlier than when the father is present in the home. Females who experience father absence have higher anxious attachment levels and higher current stress levels. These findings inform therapists about the importance of recognizing attachment injuries when dealing with individuals and supports the need for mother and father involvement in a female’s life.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)