Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Morris

Third Advisor

Dr. Delores D. Walcott


African American men have been widely ignored in the social science literature. When African American men have been studied, it has primarily been from a deficit model. The purpose of this study was to give voice to the African American father, whether he is working-poor, middle-class, or upper-class, biological or non-biological, residential or non-residential. The intent of the study was to explore how African American men view themselves as fathers and their own experiences of being a parent.

One hundred and one men who identified as African American, were at least 18 years old, and who had at least one child participated in this study. Participants provided demographic information, and self-reported information on subscales of the Childhood Paternal Relationship Scale (CPRS), the Paternal Attachment Scale, the Dimensions of Fathering Survey and the Stereotype Scale.

The study examined paternal identity by exploring three dependent variables: (1) father role salience, (2) father role satisfaction, and (3) reflected appraisals. The reflected appraisal subscale assesses the respondent's perception of how significant others evaluate his performance as a father. The independent variables included age, level of education, perceived ability to provide for one's offspring, perceived relationship with offsprings' mother, the quality of paternal relationship, perceived similarities of parenting as his primary male parenting figure, and acceptance of negative stereotypes. Multiple regression analyses yielded statistically significant results for father role satisfaction, but did not yield statistically significant results for father role salience or reflected appraisals.

Implications and recommendations for working with African American males include assessing African American men in a culturally sensitive and direct manner. Additional research should focus on the unique experiences of African American males.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access