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An exploration of young adult males' perceptions of non-resident fathers.

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Research on fatherhood has become an area of increasing interest internationally; however, this area remains under-researched in South Africa. Given the increase in father-absent households in South Africa and its severe effects on children, the issue of non-resident fathers requires immediate attention. This study sought to address the paucity of research on this problem by examining the subjective experiences and perceptions of participants in relation to their non-resident fathers. A qualitative methodology was adopted, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 young adult males who have or had a non-resident father. The results of the study revealed commonalities and contrasts within and across interviews; the contradictions and conflicts that emerged were also explored. This study highlights the unique roles that non-resident fathers play, which go beyond the financial provider role. Specific factors that either facilitate or impede the father-son relationship and how father involvement shapes children's well-being were explored. The results show the strong emotional need that boys have for their fathers and the desire for a close, intimate and fulfilling relationship between a father and son. It is clear that non-resident fathers can and should play a major role in their sons' lives.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.