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Father absence is the lack of a father in a child and families life. This has been shown to have a number of consequences for children and mothers

Children who were raised without fathers perceive themselves to be less cognitively and physically competent than their peers from father-present families.[1] Mothers raising children without fathers reported more severe disputes with their child. Sons raised without fathers showed more feminine but no less masculine characteristics of gender role behavior.[2]

The Stanford marshmallow experiment had has its roots in an earlier one performed on Trinidad, where Mischel noticed that the different ethnic groups living on the island had contrasting stereotypes of one another, specifically, on the other's perceived recklessness, self-control, and ability to have fun.[3] This small (n= 53) study of male and female children aged 7 to 9 (35 Black and 18 East Indian) in a rural Trinidad school involved the children in indicating a choice between receiving a 1c candy immediately, or having a (preferable) 10c candy given to them in one week's time. Mischel reported a significant ethnic difference, large age differences, and that "Comparison of the "high" versus "low" socioeconomic groups on the experimental choice did not yield a significant difference".[3] Absence of the father was prevalent in the African-descent group (occurring only once in the East Indian group), and this variable showed the strongest link to delay of gratification, with children from intact families showing superior ability to delay.


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