Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Developmental Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Paul Silverman

Commitee Members

Allen Szalda-Petree, Kari Harris


alcohol use, college, drug use, evolutionary perspectives, father-daughter relationship, positive urgency, sensation seeking, sexual behaviors


University of Montana


Substance use and sexual behaviors are prominent college campus activities, often co-occurring. An evolutionary perspective illuminates the unique impact of father-daughter relationships on substance use and sexual risk-taking. Female adolescents who experience early physical separation from their fathers or lack relational closeness with him exhibit higher rates of substance use and accelerated reproductive development. This study examines whether female adolescents’ models of father psychological presence (a component of the attachment working model) also predict risky college behavior. Eighteen to 22 year old college females were administered several scales assessing father psychological presence, sexual risk taking, substance use, impulsivity, and depression. Results revealed that father psychological presence did predict sexual risk-taking and illicit drug use (but not alcohol use) after controlling for impulsivity, other risky behavior, and mood. Consistent with evolutionary and attachment theories, psychological presence of fathers may function as protection against risky behavior.



© Copyright 2012 Whitney Rostad