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Date of Award

1987

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Helmut H. Reimer

First Committee Member

Gary N. Howells

Second Committee Member

Joseph L. Anastasio

Third Committee Member

Harvey Williams

Fourth Committee Member

Fred Muskal

Abstract

Purpose : This study investigated how divorced fathers perceived their relationships to their children and met their parenting roles. It also sought information on new parenting techniques generated by these fathers. The study compared fathers' perceptions of their parenting roles to ideal father role behaviors. Other areas investigated were the process o f divorce and factors impacting on fathers' roles after divorce.

Procedures: The approach was an exploratory one. Subjects in the study were six divorced fathers in San Joaquin County . Twelve fathering role categories were identified from the literature review. An interview schedule was developed from these· categories, from variables related to the process of divorce, and factors impacting on fathers' role after divorce. Individual responses were collected and analyzed from tape recorded interviews. Data were analyzed through comparison of responses with the twelve ideal father role categories, variables related to the divorce process and factors impacting on fathers' roles.

Findings: The findings indicated consistency with descriptions in the research literature . These fathers went through the divorce process with little variation from other divorced fathers . They experienced most problems in the last stages of the divorce process. They were able to perform their roles in the twelve identified categories . Variables which impacted on fathers and were most often mentioned developed into the following themes: (1) parent roles were static, (2) their parents had provided inadequate models, (3) in particular there was a lack of adequate fathering role models available in both intact and divorced families, (4) fathers' educations were insufficient in areas of family life, {5) fathers reacted to certain events surrounding divorce, and this compounded their role strain, (6) the legal system was biased in favor of mothers in divorce decisions, (7) due to limited visitation fathers experienced a loss of role power. These fathers developed new parenting variations. The predominant one they used either caused alleviation or maintenance of their role strain and affected the level of satisfaction they experienced within the father-child relationship. A number of questions related to legal, educational, clinical, and role modeling factors were generated .

Pages

223

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