The Perceived Influence of a Father on His Daughter’s Development

Caitlin Goossen, The Master’s College

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Abstract According to research conducted by Nielsen, “fathers generally have as much or more influence than mothers on many aspects of their daughters’ lives. For example, the father has the greater impact on the daughter’s ability to trust, enjoy and relate well to the males in her life …well-fathered daughters are usually more self-confident, more self-reliant, and more successful in school and in their careers than poorly-fathered daughters …Daughters with good relationships with their father are also less likely to develop eating disorders” . The purpose of this study was to determine what, if any, influence a father has on his daughter’s development. The survey instrument requested demographic data in addition to seven Likert-type scale questions and was distributed to the students enrolled in The Master’s College during the spring 2009 semester. STATPAK was used to examine the data collected, and the One-Dimensional Chi-square test used to interpret the data. All responses were significant at the .05 significance level. The conclusions of this research indicate that a father does have influence over his daughter in many areas, including body image and sexuality.

Introduction Is a father a key figure in his daughter’s development? “The role of a father’s absence on the reproductive and psychological behavior of their daughters has been a subject of considerable interest from a developmental, psychological, sociological and evolutionary perspective” (Comings, Muhleman, Johnson, & MacMurry, 2002, p. 1046). It seems for many girls that “inevitably our fathers determine how we view the opposite sex, the outside world and ourselves” (Krohn & Bogan, 2001, Conclusion section, ¶ 1). Further, “the bond between father and daughter is one of the strongest in the world…[and] if the father and mother are the right role models, the daughter will grow into an independent young woman” (Norment & Chappell, 2003).

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