Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Rhonda Bohs

Abstract

A father's abandonment of his minor daughter can leave an indelible impression on her psyche â?? one that can forever affect her intimate romantic relationships. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore where women who were abandoned by their fathers prior to the age of 18 are today as adults in terms of their intimate romantic relationships and how they develop and engage in these relationships. The research questions examined how a daughter being abandoned by her father prior to the age of 18 relates to where she is today in her adult intimate romantic relationships and what meanings participants attach to relationships and relationship satisfaction as a result of their childhood experiences. Theories of social constructionism and psychosocial development grounded the study. After a review of the literature, data were collected through screening questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of 8 women. Each interview was transcribed and the data examined for themes. Key findings indicated that the effect of a daughter being abandoned by her father prior to the age of 18 affects her adult intimate romantic relationships. Results also indicated the psychosocial stage at which she was abandoned affected how she viewed men in her adult relationships as it effects whether she builds trust or mistrust, autonomy or shame and doubt, initiative or guilt, industry or inferiority, identity or role confusion. When the stage is not met, the basic virtue of each stage (hope, will, purpose, competency, fidelity) may be lacking or lost. Positive social change is implicated through this collection of qualitative data that can inform practitioners and researchers, foster therapeutic treatment, and help shed light on and ameliorate the effects of the phenomenon of paternal abandonment of daughters prior to the age of 18.

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