Perhaps even more important than the question of broken homes is the question of how the person got along with his father and mother. Family stability is often meaningless in the absence of affection and harmony.
As we said earlier, everyone was asked three routine questions: how he got along, during his middle teens, with his father, with his mother, and with which parent he got along better.
Concerning adjustment with the father, we again see that better adjustment characterizes those whose sexual activity was with older female partners and of a voluntary nature. Poor adjustment is associated with homosexuality, force, and very young sexual partners. More than half the control group and the prison group had a fairly good father relationship, but they are outstripped by the heterosexual offenders vs. adults and minors and by the incest offenders vs. adults. Oddly enough, the exhibitionists, despite the fact that they do not use force and usually expose to postpubescent females, had a rather poor relationship with their fathers. The homosexual offenders had the worst of any class of sex offenders. This discovery would delight psychoanalysts more were it not for the fact that the homosexual offenders got along rather poorly with their mothers also.
The picture in regard to the modier is similar: good adjustment is associated with having unforced sexual relationships with postpubescent females, especially adult females. Poorer adjustment is associated with the use of force, with very young partners, and with homosexual offenses. The control group and the peepers share a rather good maternal relationship but the prison group got along only indifferently (though not poorly) with their mothers. The three groups showing the best adjustment with the mother are the same three who had the best adjustment with the father—the heterosexual offenders vs. adults, the heterosexual offenders vs. minors, and the incest offenders vs. adults. Lastly, it is worth noting that in all groups there is a better adjustment with the mother than with the father.
In answer to our question whether the interviewee got along better with his father or mother, some named one parent, but many replied that they got along equally well with both. Having the largest percentage impartial and the smallest percentage preferring the father seems to constitute a “normal” ratio in that it typifies the control group, the prison group, and the heterosexual offenders with postpubertal females.
Having the percentage who preferred the mother larger than (or equal to) the percentage who were impartial is associated with offenses that society looks upon as either very reprehensible or as in dicative of mental or emotional pathology. This mother preference is found in all the homosexual offenders, all the heterosexual aggressors, the exhibitionists, and in one of the three groups of incest offenders. Significantly, the one incest group with the “normal” ratio is the incest offenders vs. adults. The mother preference of the homosexual groups, the exhibitionists, and incest offenders vs. children seems chiefly the result of their very poor adjustment to their fathers rather than the result of a good adjustment to their mothers.
No group placed the father first. In fact, a relatively high percentage of father preference seems a bad omen. The four groups who preferred the father least include the control group, the peepers, the heterosexual offenders vs. adults, and the heterosexual offenders vs. minors. The six groups who expressed the greatest father preference include the three aggressor groups, two incest-offender groups, and the exhibitionists.
Interestingly enough, getting along very well with one parent generally involved getting along equally well with the other so that impartiality results. Note; that the groups typified by good relationship with the father are the same groups that had a good relationship with the mother also, and claimed they got along equally well with both. Such fortunate people were seldom subsequently convicted of sexual offenses involving violence, children, homosexuality, or exhibition.