Mapping Young Adults' Use of Fathers for Attachment Support: Implications on Romantic Relationship Experiences.

Journal Name
Early Child Development and Care
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
1 & 2
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Freeman, Harry.
Almond, Tasha M.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Resource Language
A mixed methods approach was used to examine how young adults (n = 1012) perceive fathers as targets for attachment support. Participants ranked the level of attachment support received and sought from fathers, mothers, best friends, and romantic partners, and provided relationship-specific information on additional indices of social support including commitment, intimacy, companionship, advice, and romantic relationship experiences. Findings indicated that approximately 10% of the young adults considered fathers a principal source of attachment support. Compared to the majority of young adults who did not rank fathers as a primary attachment figure, those who did were more likely to be male, younger than 20, not romantically involved, and less sexually active. A series of hierarchical regression analyses revealed that higher levels of sexual activity and closeness to romantic partners predicted lower use of fathers as attachment figures, albeit the links were specific to gender and romantic status groups. Qualitative interviews to assess father-daughter communication patterns were conducted in a follow-up study with 10 participants who previously indicated fathers as an unusually high or low source of attachment support. High paternal support was indicated by the capacity for resolving disagreements through open dialog and mutual respect, although this outcome was rarely sought or achieved within father-daughter dyads. (Author abstract)

Note: This article is part of the journal special issue entitled Emerging Topics on Father Attachment: Considerations in Theory, Context and Development.

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