Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Brashear

Third Advisor

Dr. Larry Schlack


The purpose of this study was to determine what differences, if any, exist in the sociological and demographic factors that are observed to be characteristics of fathers who have custody of their children, as opposed to fathers who do not have custody of their children. A review of the literature revealed that a large amount of information has been collected dealing with the situation of single mothers, but that nothing comparable exists regarding single fathers. The evidence from the literature also indicated that the increase in single fathering is at least paralleling the increase in single parenting in general. It is felt that information regarding this growing population will be extremely valuable for those planning and designing community human service programs. Educators at all levels must be constantly aware of changing family patterns and must be prepared to provide leadership to meet emerging needs.

A total of twenty hypotheses relating to possible differences in sociological and demographic factors of single fathers and noncustodial fathers were addressed in this study. The method of data collection was survey research. An instrument was sent to a sample of single fathers and noncustodial fathers.

Analyses of the data generated suggest that single fathers differ from noncustodial fathers in several important sociological characteristics. First, single fathers took a more active role in the care and raising of their children prior to divorce than did noncustodial fathers. Second, single fathers rate their child-rearing skills at a higher level than do noncustodial fathers. Third, single fathers make a quicker recovery from the emotional stress caused by the breakup of the marriage than do noncustodial fathers. Fourth, single fathers feel more satisfied with their life as a whole than do noncustodial fathers.

The data analyzed, however, do not support many of the differences between single fathers and noncustodial fathers suggested in the available literature. The study highlights concerns of both single and noncustodial fathers and points toward areas for future human services program development and research.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access