Non-custodial fathers' experiences of attachment, loss and grief

Barton, D 2010, Non-custodial fathers' experiences of attachment, loss and grief, Masters by Research, Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Non-custodial fathers' experiences of attachment, loss and grief
Author(s) Barton, D
Year 2010
Abstract It was John Bowlby who first provided an understanding of the attachments that human beings form with one another from the very earliest years of life, and of what may occur if those attachments are broken and lost. Whilst Bowlby’s at times controversial work concerned the attachment a child has for its mother, few authors considered the attachment a child may have for its father or the attachment an adult may have for a child. Views regarding attachment theory have further developed over time to include, amongst others, adult to adult attachments.

Using attachment theory as a broad foundation, the research considered a number of non-custodial fathers’ experiences of attachment, loss and grief regarding their lost relationships with their spouse, children and significant others. The research project sourced a number of non-custodial fathers and conducted in-depth interviews with them about their experiences of separation and divorce, and the challenges they faced as a result.

The research considered extensive background information and literature, described the methodology used, then what was found through the interviews; it analysed the findings and emerging themes, and considered the physical and emotional effects upon the respondents. Specific issues such as each father’s individual grief response, his anxiety, health, nutrition, alcohol and other drug use, suicide ideation and broader social and family relationship matters were examined. Strategies for the future were considered, along with recent Federal Government Family Law and Child Support initiatives.

It was demonstrated through the research that the effect of separation and loss can bring about a range of grief responses that are usually associated with severe trauma. The analysis posited that a father, having formed a strong attachment to his wife and children, experiences enormous grief when the attachment is suddenly broken through separation and divorce, and that the ensuing grief response can be temporarily debilitating. The research concludes that the findings have clear implications for policy makers and welfare practitioners.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global Studies, Social Science and Planning
Keyword(s) marriage
family law
child support
non-custodial father
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Created: Fri, 10 Dec 2010, 15:43:16 EST
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