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Alternative Title

Relationship between non residential father involvement, parent perceptions and the therapeutic alliance for boys ages 10-14

Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Absentee fathers, Therapeutic alliance, Attachment behavior in children, Child psychotherapy-Parent participation, Fathers and sons, Father absence, Nonresidential father involvement, Child therapeutic alliance, Parent perceptions, Internal working model of attachment


This quantitative study examines the relationships between nonresidential father involvement, parent perceptions and the therapeutic alliance in a sample that consists of male child patients between the ages 10-14 who were receiving outpatient psychotherapy at an inner-city community mental health clinic, their resident mothers and therapists (n=150). Results show that child positive emotional perceptions of both parents are most notably linked to the quality of the therapeutic alliance as reported by children. While the relationship between nonresidential father involvement and therapeutic alliance only reached trend significance levels, findings showed that higher nonresidential father involvement is associated with increased positive feelings toward both mothers and fathers, as well as better maternal feelings toward father as a parent. Results also included finding of boys’ higher negative affect toward fathers who are less involved in their sons’ lives, which refutes previous assertions that absent fathers are often idealized. Implications for social work practice center on the importance of assessing and enhancing positive affect toward both parents and potentially taking steps towards increasing nonresidential father involvement in the child’s life when providing psychotherapy to children with resident mothers and nonresident fathers.




vi, 158 pages. Ph.D. Dissertation-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 118-128)