Date of Conferral





Human Services


Rebecca Stout


Fatherhood programs have varying intentions, including encouraging peer interaction among fathers, supporting healthy father-child relationships, developing positive family dynamics, and identifying parenting strategies. However, much less is known about how fatherhood programs fulfill the needs of fathers as examined by the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The purpose of this qualitative generative research study was to explore African American noncustodial fathers’ experiences of fatherhood program in which they participated, and how these programs fulfilled their needs as framed by those from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The research question for this study focused on how African American noncustodial fathers perceive the role of fathering programs in fulfilling their hierarchy of needs. A purposive sample of 6 participants engaged in in-depth, semi structured interviews. Using NVivo software to analyze data and identify themes, participants shared their experiences of taking part in a fatherhood program. Four overarching themes were identified: relationships, challenges, incarceration, healthy living. While, the fatherhood programs did fulfill some of the participants’ needs, found from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs such as self-actualization and belonginess, some needs were not fulfilled. The participants expressed their desire to receive added support to increase their stability, seeking housing, receiving psychological counseling, learning financial management, and avoiding future incarceration, which could have fulfilled the participants’ esteem, safety, and physiological needs. Implications for social change include educating families, agencies, and the community of interventions that should be included in fatherhood programs.