A QUALITATIVE INQUIRY INTO THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF ABSENT FATHERS: PERSPECTIVES, RATIONALE, FACTORS
Taylor, Lawrence K.
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Father absence is defined as a man who has had no physical interaction with his children and has not provided any form of financial support within 12 consecutive months (Black, 2008). Father absence affects poverty, child health, incarceration, crime, teen pregnancy, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and education (National Fatherhood Initiative, 2011). There is research available on the impact of father absence, but there are few studies that discuss father absence from the perspective of the absent father. The researcher chose to fill a void within the literature and give voice to a population that has been researched, but not studied from their perspective. A phenomenological examination into the lived experiences of absent fathers was investigated to uncover their perspectives. Seven men expressed their feelings, rationales, and justifications regarding their absence. Using Moustakas’s (1994) modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen (SCK) Method nine themes emerged from the data. To enhance credibility participants conducted member checks of their verbatim transcriptions to ensure accuracy of content. The author found absent fathers’ can formulate a conceptualized definition of what it means to be a father. Although, they have an understanding their comprehension did not yield application. Implications are presented for practitioners to assist absent fathers in overcoming feelings of shame, grief, guilt, and inadequacy. The author created a Model of Reunification for Absent Fathers to serve as a guide for those who wish to assist absent fathers who are motivated to engage in the process of reunification with their children.