The Developmental Trajectory of Young Women with Biological Absent Fathers Resulting from Abandonment

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Duffill, Tanisha
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The detrimental impact on heterosexual women experiencing the repercussions of an absent biological father resulting from abandonment is a phenomenon that not only leads to mental health challenges, but directly affects the attachment style and development of adult romantic relationships. Historically, research has examined men and their experience with paternal abandonment, and researchers have seemed reluctant to explore this phenomenon with women. The literature that does exist has examined how women who have experienced paternal abandonment are developmentally negatively impacted. Previous literature suggests that paternal absence during infancy and childhood as the result of abandonment predisposes women to suffer from an insecure attachment. Furthermore, research has examined the link between paternal abandonment in women and resulting deleterious mental health outcomes. Many women who have been abandoned by their biological fathers develop anxiety, depression, and a negative sense of self. Consequently, women who have experienced paternal abandonment in turn may unconsciously seek out unhealthy and unstable romantic relationships with men where their needs are often unmet or ignored. Due to being denied the opportunity of establishing a secure attachment bond with their biological father during development, women may have a decreased ability to be trusting, romantically intimate, and committed to a male romantic partner in relationships and marriage. The current research paper aims to examine the literature on the negative impact that paternal abandonment in infancy and childhood has on development, attachment, mental health, intimacy, and romantic relationships in heterosexual women. Furthermore, a proposal to develop a workshop addressing effective therapeutic interventions for clinicians working with this unique demographic is discussed in the hope of enhancing a positive therapeutic alliance and encouraging and facilitating healing for women abandoned by their biological father.
absent father , attachment , young women , intimacy , abandonment , paternal absence
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess