Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Lis Pike

Abstract

Nonresidential father experiences of family life with their children lack attention in the literature. Nonresidential fathers often suffer considerably, as they attempt to continue their parenting role with limited access lime. Consequently, their relationships with their children may suffer, sometimes resulting in visitation ceasing altogether. Father contact is important to the developmental and psychological well-being of children, yet is often hindered by restricted access, distance, parental conflict and the father's emotional state. Nonresidential father perspectives of family life with their children are explored in this study, to gain insight into nonresidential father experiences. This study replicated a study conducted by S. A. Esposito (1995) and extended it through an exploratory analysis of family functioning. A multimethod approach, recommended for family research, incorporated quantitative and qualitative methodology. A purposive sample included 46 nonresidential fathers, recruited through various means. Five participants were randomly chosen from the main sample for interviewing. The study is in two sections, the replication involving a survey questionnaire, correlational research, cross sectional design and the exploratory analysis, which Involved semi-structured face to face Interviews. Two hypotheses suggested that cohesion and adaptability in the nonresidential father-child family would be predicted by the quality of parental interactions and the quality of father-child interactions. Cohesion and adaptability are measures of family functioning according to the Circumplex Model for Marital and Family Systems. The exploratory Nonresidential Father-Child Families 3 analysis provided explanations of findings from the study and Information regarding the suitability of the model for nonresidential father-child families. The quality of father-child Interactions did predict cohesion in the nonresidential father-child family, but not adaptability. Parental interaction quality did not predict cohesion or adaptability. Some components of the model appear suitable for nonresidential father-child families, while others are considered unsuttable. Suggestions for adapting the model to suit nonresidential father-child families are offered. Valuable insights into nonresidential father experiences offer information for professionals working with divorced families. Several recommendations are given for further research and suggestions for intervention strategies that increase parental awareness are presented. The importance of parental cooperation in decisions regarding children of divorced homes is highlighted.

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