Thesis

Father-absent women : how different are they?

The intention of this study was to explore the effects the death of a father in early childhood or adolescence may have on a woman's levels of trust, intimacy and her self-esteem as it pertains to adult relationships with men. An extensive literature review was conducted exploring specific theories which focus on psychological and personality development. In addition, previously documented empirical research denoting characteristics and behaviors of father-absent females and father-present females was compared and contrasted, as well as a detailed study of the significance (or lack thereof) of the mourning process as it relates to the father-absent daughter. And, finally, a quantitative analysis was completed. The intention of this statistical analysis was to confirm or disprove major findings of the literature and previous research Fifty-six women participated in this study. Thirty of these women lived in a father-present home and were considered the control group. Twenty-six of these women matured in a father-absent (father deceased) home and were considered the experimental group. They were requested to answer a questionnaire containing three separate tests designed to evaluate their capabilities of trust, intimacy and their levels of self-esteem. The collective results of these candidates' questionnaire results were cross-referenced and correlated with the Coopersmithlnventory and the Liphe Firo Scale assessing self-esteem and childhood perceptions. The following hypotheses were formulated and tested to determine a statistical significance between the control and experimental groups. 1. Father-absent women will score significantly lower in the ability to trust adult males in emotional relationships. 2. Father-absent women will score significantly lower in the ability to maintain emotional intimacy with adult males. 3. Father-absent women will have lower self-esteem than father-present women. The hypotheses were not statistically validated. Though the analysis demonstrated no significant difference between the two groups, there were selective results which encourage further exploration.

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