Psychology's literature regarding fatherlessness is not only grim, mainly pointing out the negative consequences of fatherlessness, but it also does not provide much specific information about fatherless individuals' experiences. A pilot study revealed that fatherless individuals do not always suffer from the loss of their father and that they also have the ability to overcome the negative consequences commonly associated with father loss. The research questions for this study presented themselves naturally after reviewing the literature and after considering the results of my pilot study, namely, “What do fatherless individuals actually experience in being fatherless, and what is the nature of the experience of being fatherless in people who seem to display successful coping and resilience?” Phenomenology and the Grounded Interpretive research method were employed to explore in depth the lived experience of three participants. My interviews show that cultural, family, and educational background and the individual's interpretations of his or her situation significantly contributed to how fatherlessness was experienced. In contrast to the generally grim literature on fatherlessness, the results of the present study suggest that the consequences of fatherlessness do not have to be as grim as they are generally portrayed. While fatherlessness is difficult, there is hope for the fatherless in that they can overcome the negative implications of their situation-a finding that contributes to a more holistic understanding and a perspective of fatherlessness that has not yet been sufficiently been documented by the literature.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Fatherlessness, Father loss, Father absence, Resilience, Sucessful coping, Qualitative research, Phenomenology, Grounded Interpretive research, Grounded Theory



Included in

Psychology Commons