Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Psychology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Associate Professor Alfred Allan

Second Advisor

Dr Ricks Allan


There is relatively little research in respect of father’s and their post-divorce contact with their children. Preliminary research suggests father’s identification with the parent role may play an influential role in this contact. Though the Self Perceptions of the Parental Role Questionnaire (SPPE) has been utilised to measure father’s identification with the parent role, the psychometric properties of this instrument have yet to be systemically investigated. The lack of psychometric information about the SPPR seriously limits this instruments utility. The aim of the current study was twofold. Firstly, to determine the psychometric properties of a formal measure of parent role identity, the Self-perceptions of the Parental Role questionnaire (SPPR). Secondly, to explore the constructs father role and father role identity. Seventy four fathers completed the SPPR. From a sub sample of twenty five fathers the reliability of the SPR satisfaction scale was found to be acceptable for research and clinical application (Cronbach’s alpha .73, r=.82). The reliability of the Integration scale was low and could not be recommended for either research or clinical use (Cronbach’s alpha .68, r=.65). Reliability of the SPPR’s other two scales, competence and investment, was not clearly established because their Cronbach’s alphas and test-retest reliabilities did not produce commensurate results. An exploratory principle components factor analysis did not support the factorial structure of the SPPR. Feedback suggested participants found the instructions and some items of the SPPR difficult to understand. The outcome of a qualitative analysis of interviews of a sub group of fathers (n = 27) was consistent with previous research and identity theory that fathers identified sub roles which make up the father role. These sub roles were the traditional, teacher, and shared experience and participation. Item analysis revealed the SPPR does not inquire about these sub roles. The qualitative data also revealed the importance of father’s perceptions of the parent role, rewards of parenting, sacrifices, confidence/competence, and sources of help and advice in the father role. Item analysis revealed the SPPR inquires only about rewards and costs and sources of advice. The qualitative data suggests the SPPR could be improved by adding items which inquire about perceptions of father sub roles, confidence/competency in these roles and sacrifices made to complete these roles.