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Childhood paternal absence and attachment styles: The impact on interpersonal trust

Dissertation
Author: Bernadette Senior
Abstract:
Women reared without a biological father may develop multifaceted issues that have been found to surface during childhood and to continue to be prevalent throughout adulthood. Past research has shown childhood paternal absence contributes to the development of various mental disorders as well as to the development of social deficiencies, such as promiscuity and dependency. Despite such findings, a gap persists in the current research literature that looks specifically at the interactive relationship between attachment style, paternal presence, and interpersonal trust amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old. This nonexperimental study, based on Attachment Theory, investigated whether interpersonal trust, as measured by Rotter's Interpersonal Trust Scale, was related to type of attachment style and level of childhood paternal presence. This study also investigated whether attachment style mediated the relationship of paternal presence and interpersonal trust. A two-way ANOVA, α = .05, was used as a means to analyze the data. The results of this study revealed interpersonal trust is not related to attachment style. The results further revealed attachment style has no mediating relationship with paternal presence and level of interpersonal trust. The implications for positive social change are enhanced recognition of the negative effects of childhood paternal absence upon women and empirical support regarding the community need for specialized mentoring programs for female youth. The implementation of community programs that provide positive male role models for female youth being reared in the absence of the biological father will provide preventive measures for interpersonal issues that have been found to persist as a result of childhood paternal absence amongst women.

TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY ..................................................................................1 Problem Statement .........................................................................................................3 Theoretical Framework ..................................................................................................5 Bowlby’s Attachment Theory ........................................................................................6 Trust Formation .............................................................................................................8 Purpose Statement ..........................................................................................................9 Research Questions and Hypotheses .............................................................................9 Research Questions ........................................................................................................9 Nature of the Study ..................................................................................................... 14 Assumptions and Limitations ......................................................................................15 Assumptions .................................................................................................................15 Limitations ...................................................................................................................15 Ethical Considerations / Protection of Participants and Data ......................................16 Social Change Implication ...........................................................................................16 Summary ......................................................................................................................18 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ...........................................................................21 Organization of the Chapter .........................................................................................21 Description of Literature Search ..................................................................................22 Theoretical Framework ................................................................................................22 Attachment Theory ..................................................................................................... 22 Theoretical Background ...............................................................................................23 Early Criticisms ...........................................................................................................25 Primary Principles ........................................................................................................26 Attachment Styles ........................................................................................................28 Trust Development.......................................................................................................34 Trauma and Trust Formation .......................................................................................36 Initial Trust Formation Model .....................................................................................42 Impact of Childhood Experiences on Interpersonal Relationships ..............................45 Impaired Interpersonal Development ..........................................................................47 Absent Parents and Attachment Issues ........................................................................49 Absent Mothers ............................................................................................................50 Absent Fathers .............................................................................................................54 Impact on Males ........................................................................................................54 Impact on Females ....................................................................................................57 Research Related to the Methods .................................................................................61 Meta-analysis ............................................................................................................62 Longitudinal ..............................................................................................................65

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CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHOD .............................................................................72 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 72 Research Design and Approach .................................................................................. 73 Setting and Sample ......................................................................................................74 Procedures ....................................................................................................................75 North Carolina Procedures ........................................................................................77 Georgia Procedures ...................................................................................................77 Instrumentation ............................................................................................................80 Data Collection & Analysis ........................................................................................ 83 Data Collection .........................................................................................................83 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................85 Threats To Statistical Conclusion Validity .............................................................. 85 Data Assumptions ........................................................................................................86 Sample Size ..................................................................................................................87 Protection of Data ....................................................................................................... 88 Protection of Participants ............................................................................................ 89 Summary ..................................................................................................................... 89 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS ...................................................................................................92 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 92 Research Questions ......................................................................................................92 Hypotheses ...................................................................................................................93 Descriptive Statistics ................................................................................................... 93 Analysis of Variance Results .......................................................................................99 CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION ...........................................................................................102 Introduction ............................................................................................................... 102 Interpretation of Findings ......................................................................................... 103 Discussion of Limitations ......................................................................................... 106 Research Population................................................................................................106 Geographic Location ...............................................................................................108 Paternal Presence ....................................................................................................109 Attachment Style .....................................................................................................110 Reliability of the Instruments.....................................................................................111 Social Change Implications ...................................................................................... 111 Recommendations for Future Research .................................................................... 113 Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 115

APPENDIX A: VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION NOTIFICATION ......................... 128 APPENDIX B: RESEARCH PACKET COVER LETTER ........................................... 129 APPENDIX C: RESEARCH CONSENT FORM .......................................................... 130 APPENDIX D: RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT FLYER ......................................... 133 APPENDIX E: INTERPERSONAL TRUST SCALE ................................................... 134 APPENDIX F: ELSEVIER COPYRIGHT LETTER .................................................... 136 APPENDIX G: DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY ................................................................ 137

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APPENDIX H: MEASURE OF ATTACHMENT QUALITIES ................................... 138 APPENDIX I: MAQ COPYRIGHT AUTHORIZATION ............................................. 139

CURRICULUM VITAE ................................................................................................. 140

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Development of Attachment Styles ................................................................... 29

Table 2. Stages of Psychosocial Development ................................................................ 40

Table 3. Demographic Characteristics of Sample ............................................................ 95

Table 4. Analysis of Variance Results ............................................................................. 99

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Process of Secure Base ...................................................................................... 26

Figure 2. Trust Formation Model...................................................................................... 43

Figure 3. Sample Size Graph ............................................................................................ 88

Figure 4. Histogram of Dependent Variable Distribution ................................................ 97

Figure 5. Q-Q Plot of Intepersonal Trust Scores .............................................................. 97

Figure 6. Boxplot of Dependent Variable Distribution .................................................... 98

CHAPTER 1:

INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Disruptions in childhood attachments, such as the absence of one or both of the biological parents, can contribute to the surfacing of maladaptive interpersonal patterns, that is, distrust, insecurity, and dependency (Corbin, 2007). According to McCarthy and Davies (2003) and Ricks (1985), such disruptions may ultimately impair dynamics of one’s ability to establish and to maintain trust from early childhood throughout adulthood. Bowlby’s (1963) attachment theory of human development emphasized an interactive relationship exists between early childhood attachments, the ability to develop positive relationships with others, the ability to establish positive self-perceptions, and the ability to view others as being trustworthy. Multiple ideas have been proposed regarding how childhood paternal absence impacts men; therefore, the availability of related studies is vast. The focus of these studies has primarily been based on investigations regarding the impact childhood paternal absence has on the presence of aggression and homosexuality amongst men (Draper & Harpending, 1982; Nicolosi, 1991). Such studies have concluded childhood paternal absence contributes to escalated levels of aggressive behaviors in men. Such studies have also concluded paternal absence enhances the possibility that a men will become homosexual (Herzog, 1995). Both of these conclusions were based on the premise that a lack of attachment with the biological father contributes to aggressive behaviors and homosexual tendencies. Aggressive behaviors were related to men being angry towards the father for his absence from the home while homosexual behaviors were believed to be related to the

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men having the mother as a primary role model and mimicking the feminine behaviors of (Barnes, 1984). Such findings should not be considered being indicative of paternal absence somehow causing homosexuality; however, as further stated by Barnes (1984), research has shown there is a higher population of homosexuality amongst men who were reared without the biological father in comparison to the population of men reared in the home with the biological father. As emphasized by Seutter and Rovers (2004), men with distant, hostile, or absent fathers are more likely to identify with their mothers emotionally, socially, and developmentally, which is likely to increase the possibility of the behaviors of the mother being mimicked, to include the mother’s attraction to males and the mothers displays of feminine behaviors. Additional research has investigated the impact childhood paternal absence has on women with a focus on the influence on psychosexual development and mental impairment (Williamson, 2004). For example, Burns (2008) conducted a study showed the absence of the biological father contributes to adolescent girls becoming sexually active at an earlier age in comparison to girls with a strong father figure in their lives. Additionally, several studies have lead to conclusions that paternal absence contributes to the prevalence of various mental disorders and conditions amongst women. For example, Miller (1997) concluded paternal absence increases the risk of adolescent girls developing eating disorders. Similar findings were yielded from a study conducted by Johnson (1995), who concluded childhood paternal attachment is negatively correlated with eating pathology. Despite findings from studies such as the aforementioned, which have provided evidence paternal absence significantly impacts both men and women, there is an existing

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gap in current research focused on the interactive relationship between attachment style, paternal absence, and interpersonal trust. The current study investigated the relationship between attachment style, paternal presence, and interpersonal trust amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old. This study also investigated whether the relationship between paternal presence and interpersonal trust varied based on the type of attachment style amongst women. I hypothesized women reared in a home with no or low paternal presence would have lower measures of interpersonal trust and higher measures of avoidant attachment style in comparison to women reared in a home with medium to high levels of paternal presence. I also hypothesized the relationship between the level of paternal presence and interpersonal trust would vary based on the type of attachment style. It was expected no or low levels of paternal presence would result in higher scores on measures of avoidant attachment style and ultimately, low measures of interpersonal trust. This study was designed not only to provide additional data regarding the possible effects childhood paternal absence had upon women, but also to provide support for community programs with a primary focus on combating the negative effects of childhood paternal absence has young females. Problem Statement Although several studies have been conducted with a focus on how paternal absence impact men, research on how that same absence has impact women is limited. In addition, although various studies have addressed contributing factors to varied attachment styles, no research was found regarding the interactive relationship between attachment style and paternal presence and how they may both relate to interpersonal trust levels amongst women. The problem addressed by this research was how attachment

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style and the level of childhood paternal presence related to interpersonal trust amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old. An additional problem addressed by this research was whether the relationship between level of paternal presence and interpersonal trust varied based on the type of attachment style (avoidant versus secure) amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old. Research conducted with a focus on the effects childhood paternal absence has on females, has typically focused on psychosexual development and the development of mental disorders. As a result, such studies have tended to have a limited focus on the prevalence of promiscuous behaviors and mental impairments amongst this population of females. Research utilizing trust formation models such as the initial trust formation model (McKnight, Cummings, & Chervany, 1998), has primarily focused on trust within workplace settings in contrast to focusing on the impact childhood variables may have upon trust development. Despite the recognition in historical and current research that trust formation patterns begin during early childhood (King & Newnham, 2008), no research was found regarding how the interactive relationships between childhood attachment style and paternal absence may be related to one’s ability to form interpersonal trust during adulthood. As a result, a gap in the literature exists regarding the effect of attachment style and childhood paternal absence on a woman’s level of interpersonal trust during adulthood. Communities across varied geographical areas may benefit from research within this area of focus. As emphasized by Rhodes (2008), over 3 million young people within the United States are currently receiving services from various mentoring programs. As also pointed out by Rhodes, this large number of mentoring recipients is an indication society

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places significant value on the availability of caring adults willing to develop one-on-one relationships with vulnerable or at-risk youth. Studies designed to focus on effects of the absence of a positive role model, such as the biological father, may provide evidence that the presence of the biological father in a female’s life during childhood ultimately plays a significant role in the ability of adult females to establish and to maintain trust in interpersonal relationships. Such research may also provide evidence regarding how communities may benefit from the implementation of mentoring programs for young females who are being reared in homes without the biological father. Mentoring programs based on such a perspective can ultimately provide increased opportunities for young females reared with absent or low paternal presence to have exposure to positive male figures within their immediate communities. According to Carrington, Tymms, and Merrell (2008), the recruitment for mentors has typically been based on the assumption male mentors are more beneficial for boys than for girls. Yet, in an investigation of a national mentoring program, Rhodes et al. (2008) concluded girls who have mistrust issues tend to have more salient mentor relationships in comparison to their male peers. Theoretical Framework The theoretical foundation of this research was Bowlby’s (1969) attachment theory, which emphasizes the significant role a child’s relationship with the primary caregiver has upon various components of social and interpersonal development. This study investigated whether there was an interactive relationship between attachment styles (secure and avoidant) and a woman’s level of interpersonal trust during adulthood. Additionally, this study investigated whether the number of years in which the biological father was in the home during childhood and adolescence was related to a woman’s level

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of interpersonal trust during adulthood. This study further investigated whether the relationship between level of paternal presence and interpersonal trust varied based on the type of attachment style amongst women. This research also incorporated one component of Erikson’s (1950) psychosocial development theory. Erikson proposed trust develops as a result of early childhood experiences, which is synonymous to ideas proposed by Bowlby. This similarity between these two theories allowed for a more extensive exploration of how the absence of the biological father during childhood is related to the ability of females to develop trust during adulthood. Bowlby’s Attachment Theory The primary premise of attachment theory was based on Bowlby’s (1969) proposition that attachments formed with primary caregivers during childhood, result in an individual developing specific relationship patterns that remain constant throughout the lifespan. As emphasized by Garelli (2001), Bowlby viewed childhood attachments as part of a central behavioral system formed instinctively due to a proposed evolutionary component. Bowlby’s concept of a central behavioral system was based on his belief that infants instinctively seek to establish attachments with primary caregivers and will engage in very specific behaviors, such as crying, as a means to remain in close proximity to the primary caregivers in order to form those attachments. Bowlby (1963) identified the following three types of attachments styles believed to form as a result of the dynamics of a child’s attachment (or lack of attachment) with the primary caregiver: secure, avoidant, and ambivalent. A secure attachment is a healthy attachment style formed due to the primary caregiver interacting with a child in a manner that promotes self-confidence, trust, and security (Giblin, 1994). An insecure attachment

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style is formed when a primary caregiver exhibits unpredictable, neglectful behaviors towards a child. Individuals who develop an insecure attachment style are likely to have difficulty trusting others and may develop dysfunctional patterns of behaviors that negatively impact various dynamics of their lives (Jellema, 2000). Individuals with an avoidant attachment style are likely to have significant difficult trusting others and may also report difficulty developing close relationships with others (Simpson, 1990). Lastly, Meyer and Pilkonis (2001) emphasized individuals with an ambivalent or anxious attachment style are likely to be reluctant to develop close relationships with others and may also report significant difficulty trusting others. As previous ideas regarding the formation of various types of attachments applied to the current study, participants who were reared in the home without the biological father or with low paternal presence in the home were expected to have characteristics synonymous to an avoidant attachment style as these characteristics pertain to the inability or the unwillingness to trust. A primary premise of Bowlby’s theory was children learn how to trust as a result of interactions occurring with the primary caregiver in a manner that does not threaten the sense of security (Page, 1999). As this research pertained to the components of attachment theory, childhood paternal absence and low paternal presence are representative of disruptions in early childhood attachment processes, which are likely to contribute to impairments in developmental processes that influence trust formation. Based on findings in studies such as those conducted by Meyer and Pilkonis (2001) and Page (1999), participants who were not reared in the home with the biological father or were reared in the home with a low level of paternal presence

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were expected to have lower measures of interpersonal trust in comparison to participants who were reared in the home with a medium or high level of paternal presence. Trust Formation Erikson (1950), in his theory of psychosocial development, emphasized behavioral and psychosocial patterns forming as a result of early childhood experiences. Many of Erikson’s ideas were parallel to Bowlby’s ideas, particularly those pertaining to the influence early childhood attachments have on trust development (Sneed,Whitbourne, & Culang, 2006). According to Hamachek (1988), Erikson proposed trust formation begins at birth and events occurring from birth to 18 months have a significant impact on the development of an individual’s trust formation patterns. The patterns of trust developed during early childhood were believed to be static; and as a result, contributed to Erikson’s proposal these patterns remain prevalent throughout the lifespan and have a progressive effect on an individual’s ability to achieve various psychosocial milestones (Sneed et al., 2006). One commonality existing between Bowlby’s (1963) and Erikson’s theories is the recognition the establishment of trust formation patterns begin during early childhood and these patterns play a significant role in one’s ability to establish and to maintain trust with others throughout the lifespan (Harris, 2007). Based on these premises of the two theories, the current study investigated the influence a lack of attachment with the biological father, stemming from the absence or low presence of the biological father, had on the development of poor trust formation patterns originating during early childhood and continuing throughout adulthood.

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Purpose Statement The purpose of this quantitative study was to test the possible relationship between attachment style, level of paternal presence, and interpersonal trust amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old located in North Carolina and Georgia. This study also investigated whether the relationship between the level of paternal presence and interpersonal trust levels varied based on the type of attachment style (avoidant versus secure). The first independent variable, attachment style, was generally defined as an individual’s pattern of forming relationship bonds with others. The second independent variable, level of paternal presence, was generally defined as the number of years in which the biological father was in the home. The dependent variable, interpersonal trust, was generally defined as the reliance on the integrity and dependability of others within one’s environment. Research Questions and Hypotheses Research Questions 1. Do interpersonal trust means, measured by the Interpersonal Trust Scale (Rotter, 1967), differ among secure and avoidant attachment styles, measured by the Measure of Attachment Qualities (Carver, 1997), for women ages 20 to 55 years old? 2. Do interpersonal trust means, measured by the Interpersonal Trust Scale, differ among the four levels (absent = 0 years, low = 1-6 years, medium = 7-12 years, and high = 13-18 years) of paternal presence, for women ages 20 to 55 years old? 3. Do the differences in interpersonal trust means, measured by the Interpersonal Trust Scale (Rotter, 1967), among the four paternal presence levels (absent = 0 years, low = 1-6 years, medium = 7-12 years, and high = 13-18 years) vary as a function of

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attachment style, measured by the Measure of Attachment Qualities (Carver, 1997), for women ages 20 to 55 years old ? Hypotheses 1. Null Hypothesis (H 0 ): There will not be a difference in interpersonal trust means based on the type of attachment style (avoidant or secure) for women ages 20 to 55 years old . Alternative Hypothesis (H 1 ): There will be a difference in interpersonal trust means based on the type of attachment style (avoidant or secure) for women ages 20 to 55 years old. 2. Null Hypothesis (H 0 ): There will be no difference in interpersonal trust means based on the level of paternal presence for women ages 20 to 55 years old. Alternative Hypothesis (H 1 ): There will be a difference in interpersonal trust means based on the level of paternal presence for women ages 20 to 55 years old. 3. Null Hypothesis: (H 0 ): Differences in interpersonal trust means resulting from differences in levels of paternal presence will not vary as a result of differences in the type of attachment style (avoidant versus secure) amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old. Alternative Hypothesis (H 1 ): Differences in interpersonal trust means resulting from differences in levels of paternal presence will vary based on the type of attachment style amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old. Definitions of Key Terms Anxious-resistant attachment: One of the attachment styles identified by Bowlby (1963) in his attachment theory. Individuals with this type of attachment style are wary of strangers and tend to experience distress when separated from those with whom

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attachments have been formed (Collins, Cooper, Albino, & Allard, 2002; Egeland & Sroufe, 1981) Attachments: Relationship bonds formed with others (Nelson & Bennett, 2008)

Attachment partnership: Term used to refer to the relationships individuals

have with others whom attachments have been formed (Page, 1999).

Attachment styles: Terms associated with Bowlby’s (1963) attachment theory, which refers to the different attachment patterns that individuals develop in regards to how they form relationships with others (Waters, Crowell, Elliot, Corcoran, & Treboux, 2002). Avoidant attachment: One of the attachment styles identified by Bowlby (1963) in his attachment theory. Individuals with this type of attachment style avoid forming relationships and are resistant when others attempt to form relationships with them (Collins, et al., 2002). Behavioral system: Primary concept of Bowlby’s (1963) attachment theory, which depicted his description of infants being born with instinctive behaviors that serve the purpose of keeping them in close proximity with an attachment figure. An example of a behavior included within the behavioral system is crying (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2006). Berkeley adult attachment interview (AAI): Assessment tool designed to measure adult attachment behaviors and patterns (Roisman, Padron, Sroufe, & Egeland, 2002). Castration anxiety: Concept coined by Freud based on his belief boys fear their penis will be removed due to the surfacing of unconscious sexual feelings towards the biological mother (Hartocollis, 2005).

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Center for epidemiological studies depression scale (CES-D): A self-report depression scale used to make a quick assessment of depressive symptoms (West & George, 2002). Dyadic relationship: Relationship between two variables (Simpson, 2007). Ego development: Concept associated with Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, which refers to the development of one’s perception of self (Reich & Siegel, 2002). Emotional regulation: The ability to regulate one’s emotions (Mikulincer, 1998). Father hunger: Concept coined by Herzog based on his proposition that children who do not have a relationship with their biological father, consistently have a longing or desire to be close to the biological father (Campbell, 2004). Initial trust formation model: Model developed by McKnight and Chervany (2006), based on their proposition that there are various phases that occur during the process of an individual developing trust of others. Instinctive characteristics: Characteristics that an individual has at birth (Sable, 2004). Internal drives: Concept commonly associated with psychoanalytic theorists, such as Sigmund Freud, which refers to instinctive behaviors designed to propel individuals to seek some form of gratification (Sable, 2004). Intraindividual differences: Differences in the abilities of an individual in one area compared to another area. For example: An individual’s difference in measures of trust compared to the same individual’s scores in measures of depression (Fleeson & Liecht, 2006). Inventory of psychosocial development (IPD): Tool designed to measure an

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individual’s level of resolution of Erik Erickson’s eight psychosocial crises identified in his theory of psychosocial development (Sneed, et al., 2006). Life events checklist: Self-report checklist designed to make a quick assessment of experiences that have occurred in an individual’s life that may be contributing to presenting behaviors or symptoms. Example: The death of a parent (Gray, 2004). One dimensional factor: A characteristic that develops as a result of one stage in contrast to developing as a result of a series of developmental stages (Webber, 2008). Preoedipal: Stage of psychosexual development associated with Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. Freud proposed that it is during this stage in which children begin to develop initial sexual feelings (Burlington, 1973; Demby, 1990). Schema: A mental organization of concepts that aids an individual in understanding his or her surroundings (Waters & Waters, 2006). Secure attachment: Attachment with others that is defined by trust and security (Collins, et al., 2002). Secure base: Concept associated with John Bowlby’s attachment theory, which refers to a child’s utilization of attachment figures as a means for establishing relationships with others. Children with a secure base were proposed to have healthy attachment patterns later in life (Collins, et al., 2002). Strange situation study: Study conducted by Mary Ainsworth in 1978 in order to look at the affects that attachment with the biological mother had on infants when brief instances of separation occurred (Schneider , Atkinson, & Tardif, 2001).

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Tabula rasa: A blank slate. The mind before it receives impressions from experiences (Mackey, 2001) . Nature of the Study This survey study sought to compare differences in attachment styles and interpersonal trust levels between women ages 20 to 55 reared in homes with differing levels of paternal presence. This survey study further sought to determine if the relationship between level of paternal presence (e.g., absent = 0 years, low = 1-6 years, medium = 7-12 years, and high = 13-18 years) and interpersonal trust varied based on the type of attachment style (e.g., avoidant and secure). Participants ranged from ages 20 to 55 years old and resided in either Georgia or North Carolina. Rotter’s Interpersonal Trust Scale, which is a tool designed to measure the degree to which individuals judge others to be trustworthy, and the Measure of Attachment Qualities, which is a tool designed to measure adult attachment styles, were administered to participants. In addition, an eight- question demographic survey designed by the researcher, was administered in order to gather data regarding age, ethnicity, interpersonal relationships, and level of childhood presence of the biological father. Data were separated based the level of paternal presence in the biological home during the participants’ childhood. Data were further separated based on the scores received on two types of attachment styles (i.e., avoidant and secure). Mean scores between the groups were compared in order to investigate whether there is a difference in level of interpersonal trust based on both the level of paternal presence and the type of attachment style (avoidant versus secure). Mean scores between the groups were also compared in order to determine if differences in interpersonal trust levels, as they relate

Full document contains 155 pages
Abstract: Women reared without a biological father may develop multifaceted issues that have been found to surface during childhood and to continue to be prevalent throughout adulthood. Past research has shown childhood paternal absence contributes to the development of various mental disorders as well as to the development of social deficiencies, such as promiscuity and dependency. Despite such findings, a gap persists in the current research literature that looks specifically at the interactive relationship between attachment style, paternal presence, and interpersonal trust amongst women ages 20 to 55 years old. This nonexperimental study, based on Attachment Theory, investigated whether interpersonal trust, as measured by Rotter's Interpersonal Trust Scale, was related to type of attachment style and level of childhood paternal presence. This study also investigated whether attachment style mediated the relationship of paternal presence and interpersonal trust. A two-way ANOVA, α = .05, was used as a means to analyze the data. The results of this study revealed interpersonal trust is not related to attachment style. The results further revealed attachment style has no mediating relationship with paternal presence and level of interpersonal trust. The implications for positive social change are enhanced recognition of the negative effects of childhood paternal absence upon women and empirical support regarding the community need for specialized mentoring programs for female youth. The implementation of community programs that provide positive male role models for female youth being reared in the absence of the biological father will provide preventive measures for interpersonal issues that have been found to persist as a result of childhood paternal absence amongst women.