Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


African American women-Psychology, Self-esteem in women, Blacks-Race identity, Fathers and daughters, African American fathers-Family relationships, African American, Black, Racial identity, Female, Women, Self-esteem, Father-daughter relationship, Intersectionality, Father involvement, Intimate relationships, Attachment, Gender


This qualitative study was designed to explore how young self-identified women of African American and African descent describe the connection between their father-daughter relationships and their self-esteem development. This exploratory study presents findings and narratives from the perspectives of 14 self-identified women of African American and African descent between the ages of 22- 30 who had face-to face contact with their biological fathers for at least five years throughout their lives. It was expected that the African American women in this study would speak to their experiences of paternal love or rejection in ways, which were tied positively or negatively to their self-esteem. The majority of participants (n= 9) saw a connection between their self-esteem and their relationship with their biological fathers. All nine women who reported seeing a connection between their father-daughter relationship and their self-esteem also reported having high self-esteem and "close" father-daughter relationships. Four key phenomenological themes describing how biological fathers positively shape an African American daughter's self-esteem were identified: 1) support and positive reinforcement of daughter's physical attractiveness and intellectual strengths, 2) general non-judgmental support, 3) conveying positive messages about racial/ethnic pride and standards of beauty, and 4) modeling appropriate boundaries for daughters in intimate relationships.




iii, 107 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 95-97)