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June 1968

Where's Dad?Paternal Deprivation and Delinquency

Author Affiliations

Bronx, NY
From the National Training School, Public Health Service, Washington, DC. Dr. Anderson is now at the Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(6):641-649. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740060001001

THE IMPORTANCE of early object relations in ego development and character formation has been emphasized by many authors. There has been a tendency, however, to make early object relations and the mother-child relationship synonymous, and to pay comparatively little attention to father-child relations and the contributory role played by aberrations in these relations in character development in general, and criminogenesis in particular. In his classic paper, "Fortyfour Juvenile Thieves, Their Characters and Homelife," Bowlby stated emphatically:

On the basis of this varied evidence it appears that there is a very strong case indeed for believing that prolonged separation of a child from his mother (or mother-substitute) during the first five years of life stands foremost among the causes of delinquent character development and persistent misbehavior.1

Though Bowlby himself has more recently modified this conclusion,2 I have cited his work in particular

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