Data were obtained from retrospective review of 191 patient records to determine the extent and types of conduct problems among fathers of infants born to adolescent mothers. Ninety-eight fathers (51%) reported having committed a legal offense prior to the pregnancy. This rate appears substantially greater than rates of arrests of adolescents in the general population. When paired data for couples were analyzed, there was great similarity for severity of offense. Fathers, however, had committed more severe crimes than their partners. Male offenders came from families of lower socioeconomic status backgrounds and more single-parent families and were less frequently employed or in school (or graduated) than nonoffenders. They also had been more involved with various other problem behaviors, such as a previous pregnancy, drinking behavior, and behavior problems at school. There was a clustering of problem behaviors among offenders suggesting psychosocial maladjustment prior to the pregnancy. Our results suggest an association between fatherhood and delinquency among partners of adolescent mothers. It appears that these fathers form a heterogeneous group. Although some young fathers may be well adjusted, others have significant psychologic problems.

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