Teenage boys without a father figure are more likely to go off the rails and turn to crime.
Interestingly, it isn't even the quality of interaction between father and son which cuts crime and delinquency rates - it is sufficient that the father be present:
While the father's involvement in a son's life was beneficial, it was the mere presence of a dad that affected delinquency rates.
"The sense of security generated by the presence of a male role model has protective effects for a child, regardless of the degree of interaction between the child and father," said Melbourne Institute director Deborah Cobb-Clark...
"Fathers provide children with male role models and can influence children's preferences, values and attitudes, while giving them a sense of security and boosting their self-esteem.
"They also increase the degree of adult supervision at home, which may lead to a direct reduction of delinquent behaviour."
Wealth does not necessarily offset the absence of a father:
Wealthy families were no better placed to solve the problems associated with youth delinquency, it said.