Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Pa Der Vang

Abstract

In recognition of society’s changing family dynamics, due to divorce, separation, and the adaptation of cohabitating relationships, a significant amount of children are growing up in homes separate from that of their biological fathers, and are subsequently experiencing the addition of an alternative father figure in their lives. Further, a significant amount of American children are growing up in single-parent homes, typically headed by a mother. The implications of these changes are important to examine in relation to how they affect children’s emotional development, as depression has been associated with early attachment relationships. The father-child dyad, is of particular significance to this study as they have been shown to be disproportionately residing in homes separate from their children, in comparison to mothers. This quantitative research design was conducted in an effort to understand the significance of a father’s residential status during childhood, on the development of depression. The data was collected by means of developing a survey and distributing them electronically via private Facebook messages sent out by the researcher and supporting committee. This survey collected information about the participants such as their socio-demographics, experience with their fathers and alternative father figures during childhood, their history of depression, and the ECR-R questionnaire to collect the participants’ attachment styles. The results of this study did not find a statistically significant association between a father’s residential status and the development of depression. However, other variables such as attachment style and father’s level of involvement as reported by the participants displayed significance. These results should be accepted with caution, as limitations in numbers and variations of participants were present.

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