Despite a large body of literature across multiple disciplines on adolescent motherhood, adolescent fathers have been largely absent from empirical research. Previous findings suggest that young men who experience multiple risk factors across a range of life domains have a high likelihood of becoming fathers at an early age, which can negatively impact their developmental trajectories and age-normative transitions (e.g. from school to work). However, little is known about the risk factors for fatherhood among high-risk juvenile offenders; nor is it well understood how fatherhood is related to criminal behavior in this population. The current study investigated risk factors and offending patterns associated with adolescent fatherhood status in a sample of serious juvenile offenders (N = 1170). Consistent with previous studies, fatherhood status was associated with greater risk exposure among serious juvenile offenders. Furthermore, change in fatherhood status was associated with higher levels of overall offending, aggressive offending, income-related offending, and non-drug-related income offending. In light of these findings, we propose that supports and resources are needed to facilitate juvenile offenders in their role as fathers during this time.
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