I read in an article recently:

This study identified that kids growing up without fathers had a higher proportion of people developing depression, increased tendency towards anger and a higher probability of committing criminal acts.

I'm doing some research on the effects of divorce on children and I'm interested in getting this paper as a footnote.

My question is: What is the study that identified that kids growing up without fathers were angrier and more depressed?


1 Answer 1


A report in the Daily Mail in 2013 had the headline:

Growing up without a father can permanently alter the BRAIN: Fatherless children are more likely to grow up angry and turn to drugs

Dr Gabriella Gobbi, who carried out the research with colleagues at the medical faculty at McGill University in Canada, said: ‘This is the first time research findings have shown that paternal deprivation during development affects the neurobiology of the offspring.’ (Spencer, 2013)

After some searching, I believe the source article is:

Bambico, F. R., Lacoste, B., Hattan, P. R., & Gobbi, G. (2013). Father absence in the monogamous California mouse impairs social behavior and modifies dopamine and glutamate synapses in the medial prefrontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 25(5), 1163-1175.
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bht310

and the research was carried out on California mice.


The role of the father in psycho-affective development is indispensable. Yet, the neurobehavioral effects of paternal deprivation (PD) are poorly understood. Here, we examined the behavioral consequences of PD in the California mouse, a species displaying monogamous bonding and biparental care, and assessed its impact on dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT), and glutamate (GLU) transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In adult males, deficits in social interaction were observed, when a father-deprived (PD) mouse was matched with a PD partner. In adult females, deficits were observed when matching a PD animal with a non-PD control, and when matching 2 PD animals. PD also increased aggression in females. Behavioral abnormalities in PD females were associated with a sensitized response to the locomotor-activating effect of amphetamine. Following immunocytochemical demonstration of DA, 5-HT, and GLU innervations in the mPFC, we employed in vivo electrophysiology and microiontophoresis, and found that PD attenuated the basal activity of low-spiking pyramidal neurons in females. PD decreased pyramidal responses to DA in females, while enhancing responses to NMDA in both sexes. We thus demonstrate that, during critical neurodevelopmental periods, PD leads to sex-dependent abnormalities in social and reward-related behaviors that are associated with disturbances in cortical DA and GLU neurotransmission.


Spencer, B. (2013) Growing up without a father can permanently alter the BRAIN: Fatherless children are more likely to grow up angry and turn to drugs. In: Daily Mail [Online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2518247/Growing-father-permanently-alter-BRAIN-Fatherless-children-likely-grow-angry-turn-drugs.html


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