Date of Conferral
Dr. Alethea Baker
The problem that this study focused on was the difficulties and challenges experienced by daughters who had absent fathers. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of daughters who grew up with absent fathers, and the effects on them as adults at home, in school, in their neighborhoods, and in their decision-making processes. The sample consisted of 20 daughters who grew up with absent fathers. Data were collected using face-to-face semi-structured interviews, and analyzed using 5 phases of Hycner's (1999) phenomenological research. Results indicated that participants' lived experiences of home life were characterized by financial and emotional hardships resulting from the loss of a father's earnings and care. The meanings or lessons that participants derived from having absent fathers included the importance of being independent, of appreciating the people who remained with them, and of making a better life for their own children, either by choosing a mate who would be a committed father or by helping their children to come to terms with the man's absence. Participants reported that the absence of their fathers shaped their decision-making patterns in romantic relationships, either by normalizing exploitative behavior in men (e.g., deception, abuse, or abandonment), or by predisposing them to distrust men. Participants were also affected in their decision-making patterns by the loss of a male perspective and a father's guidance. These results are of significance because by gaining understanding of the experiences of daughters with absent fathers, healthcare professionals may provide appropriate assistance to help these women cope better with their difficulties and struggles.