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Title: Meta-analysis of direct and indirect effects of father absence on menarcheal timing
Authors: Guo, S 
Lu, HJ 
Zhu, N
Chang, L
Issue Date: Jul-2020
Source: Frontiers in psychology, July 2020, v. 11, 1641, p. 1-10
Abstract: Despite extensive evidence of the association between father absence and early onset of menarche, whether father absence directly accelerates the onset of menarche or the association is mediated by other negative family psychosocial processes remains unclear. Reliable theories on the basis of which father absence has been investigated also vary. Within the life history (LH) theoretical framework, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies that investigated father absence, menarcheal timing, and various family disturbances that cause stress in children. We tested the hypothesis that father absence exerts a direct effect on menarcheal timing and an indirect effect on menarcheal timing mediated by integrated childhood stress. Quantitative synthesis using a two-stage meta-analytic structural equation modeling approach was applied to test our hypothesis. Based on seven research articles (N = 4,619) that include at least one form of family stressor as well as father absence and menarcheal timing, integrated childhood stress emerged as a robust mediator of the association between father absence and early menarcheal timing, and the total effect of father absence on menarcheal timing had reduced in size after accounting for the mediating effect of childhood stress. The findings emphasize the importance of a father figure in regulating a child's LH, including menarcheal timing.
Keywords: Childhood stress
Father absence
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Journal: Frontiers in psychology 
EISSN: 1664-1078
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01641
Rights: Copyright © 2020 Guo, Lu, Zhu and Chang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
The following publication Guo, S., Lu, H. J., Zhu, N., & Chang, L. (2020). Meta-analysis of direct and indirect effects of father absence on menarcheal timing. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1641, 1-10 is available at
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