1st Edition

Father-Daughter Relationships
Contemporary Research and Issues

ISBN 9781848729346
Published January 25, 2012 by Routledge

USD $56.95

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Book Description

The first research-based text that focuses on the impact of the father-daughter relationship, this provocative book examines the factors that can strengthen or weaken these relationships and the impact that these relationships have on society. The research is brought to life with compelling personal stories from fathers and daughters, including well-known celebrities and politicians. Controversial questions engage the reader and film lists and website resources demonstrate the relevance of the research. Boxed quizzes and questionnaires show students how the research can be applied to their own lives while others highlight the relationships between actual fathers and daughters. Bold faced terms, a conclusion, and review questions keep readers focused on the key concepts. How these relationships are often ignored or denigrated in the media and in some mental health and legal systems is examined. The hope is that readers will apply the research to their own families and/or work.

The book addresses:

  • What is "good" fathering? 
  • How do daughters influence their fathers' well-being?
  • How do fathers affect their daughters' social, academic, athletic, and psychological development?
  • How are problems such as depression, eating disorders, and teenage pregnancy related to the quality of these relationships?
  • How are father-daughter relationships in ethnic and racial groups unique?
  • How do incarceration, abuse, gay or lesbian relationships, military service, immigration, and poverty affect father-daughter relationships?

The book opens with the importance of the father’s role on daughters and the changing patterns of these roles. Chapter 2 examines the myths and misconceptions of father-daughter relationships including how they are portrayed in the media and the differences between parenting styles. Chapter 3 explores the behaviors that constitute "good" fathering. Scales used to measure "good" fathering are included. How fathers affect their daughters’ social, academic, intellectual, athletic, and psychological development is then considered. Factors that can weaken father-daughter relationships, such as divorce, including various theoretical perspectives, are explored in chapters 5 and 6. Father-daughter relationships of racial or ethnic minorities and an array of potentially destructive situations that affect these relationships are the focus of chapters 7 and 8. The impact of fathers who are incarcerated, abusive, alcoholics, gay, or sperm donors are considered. The book concludes with suggestions on where we go from here.

Intended as a supplemental text for upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses on father-daughter relationships and/or parenting taught in human development, family studies, psychology, sociology, counseling, social work, and women’s studies, this practical book also appeals to mental health practitioners, social workers, legal professionals, and school counselors interested in these relationships.  

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 2. Fathers, Facts and Fiction. 3. Fathering and Fatherhood. 4. How and Why Fathers Matter. 5. The Mother's Impact. 6. Divorced Fathers and Their Daughters. 7. Fathers and Daughters in Racial and Ethnic Minorities. 8. Difficult and Challenging Relationships.

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Linda Nielsen is a Professor of Adolescent and Educational Psychology at Wake Forest University. A member of the faculty for 35 years, she is a nationally recognized expert on father-daughter relationships. Her work has been featured in a PBS documentary, on National Public Radio, and in dozens of magazines and newspapers. In addition to her many scholarly articles, she has written two textbooks, Adolescence: A Contemporary View and  How to Motivate Adolescents: A guide for parents and teachers as well as two books on ways to improve father-daughter relationships, Embracing Your Father and Between Fathers and Daughters: Enriching or rebuilding your adult relationship. More information on her work is available at www.wfu.edu/~nielsen .


"Compiled of not only a wealth of current research, but also personal stories and questionnaires, the book is a comprehensive summary of the important issues around this topic. ... The highlight is undoubtedly the questions closing each chapter, which are thought-provoking and engaging. They guide the reader through chapters from the importance of the father-daughter relationship, into more unusual relationships and their effects, to a concluding encouragement to apply the findings to their own families or work. ... I would recommend this book to anyone interested in their own father-daughter relationship, and to professionals working in family therapy." - Elly McGrath, Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research, Lancaster University, UK, in The Psychologist

"The [research] is very solid. ... I especially appreciate that it is up-to-date and interdisciplinary. ... The writing ... is high in clarity and accessibility. ... This book will be a huge contribution to the field." - Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas at Austin, USA

"This book ... will bring disparate research and information on father-daughter relationships together under one comprehensive "roof". ... The manuscript was engaging, informative, and interesting in a page-turning sort of way that textbooks usually are not. ... Sources were current and some of the very best in the field. ... I would definitely recommend this book to my Women’s Studies colleagues. ... It is ... a unique resource." - Brian P. Masciadrelli, State University of New York at Fredonia, USA

"Dr. Nielsen has summarised the available literature compellingly. ... I expect a strong demand, especially in women’s studies programmes and in courses for trainee professionals. ... The material is very readable ... [and] enhanced by ... the liberal use of quotes [that] bring the material to life. ... Professionals who do custody evaluations and reports ... would ... love such a book. ... It ... answer[s] questions that many of them face every day." - Michael E. Lamb, University of Cambridge, UK

"The marked growth that has occurred in research on the father’s role in child rearing and the effects of this relationship on youth outcomes over the last decade makes this book particularly timely. ... The material is presented in an interesting way. ... The use of active learning strategies is a valuable aspect of the book. ... I would seriously consider adopting this book ... [due to] its reliance on findings from the recent research and inclusion of multiple ways to enhance engagement in the material." - Sharlene Wolchik, Arizona State University, USA

"The book provides a quick and easily read reference and will acquaint readers with up-to-date research demographics, laws, and views on a variety of issues related to father-daughter relationships. ... The author's focus ... allows for a depth of coverage that is unique." - Harry Freeman, University of South Dakota, USA

"The citations are very recent. ... The author writes clearly. ... Appropriate for graduate students, faculty/scholars, and undergraduates in a variety of fields. ... I would seriously consider it for adoption." - Mark Fine, University of Missouri–Columbia, USA

"It fills a much understudied need. I know of no other book that addresses this issue. ... The author is clearly accomplished as a scholar with expertise in this area and a very accomplished textbook author." - Robert Milardo, University of Maine, USA, Series Editor