Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

James Dobbins (Committee Chair), La Pearl Logan Winfrey (Committee Member), Janeece Warfield (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Early research on the Black family implied an enormous lack of African-American father presence and involvement among African-American fathers. However, more current research negates those findings by highlighting the contributions African-American fathers make when parenting their children (Coley, 2003; Cooper, 2009; Mandara, Murray & Joyner, 2005). In spite of facing unique psychological and social challenges, such as disproportionate levels of poverty, and race related social barriers, such as the invisibility syndrome (Franklin & Boyd-Franklin, 2000), researchers who have studied the African-American father-daughter dyad have discovered that this relationship has many benefits for African-American girls, including cognitive and academic enhancements, reductions in early sexual behaviors, development of gender identity and increased prosocial behaviors with peers (Black, Dubowitz & Starr, 1999; Coley, 2003; Cooper, 2009; Mandara, Murray & Joyner, 2005). The majority of the research that acknowledges African-American fathering typically involves fathers and sons. Critically, the father-daughter dyad is generally overlooked in psychological investigations of parenting and child development literature. Therefore, this dissertation will examine the African-American father-daughter relationship through application of a dyadic parent-child assessment method called the Marschack Interaction Method. Use of this method will determine the impact that African-American fathers have on their daughters' social and emotional development. An exploratory multiple case study design was developed that observed five African-American father-daughter dyads. Their participation required completion of the following instruments: Multidimensional Parenting Inventory (MDPI), an instrument that has been used in family intervention programs to determine parenting styles. Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), to provide insight into the daughter's behaviors and overall temperament, through the father's perspective. Marschack Interaction Method (MIM), a structured technique used to assess parent-child relationships. Results from this study provide information regarding the amounts of structure, challenge, engagement, and nurturance provided by African-American fathers to their biological or step-daughters, as well as common trends found throughout their interactions. Suggestions for future research studies are also provided.

Page Count


Department or Program

School of Professional Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Psychology Commons