ERIC Number: ED208987
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Summary of a Study of Father Fantasies of Preschool Children with Nonresident Fathers.
Michaels, Carol S.
Preschool children's fantasy views of their fathers who had left home before the children were 3 years of age were investigated by trained observers during three separate 20-minute doll play sessions conducted within 12 consecutive school days. Ninety-six pairs of black, white, and hispanic mothers and children ranging in age from 5 to approximately 6.5 years participated in the study. Observers recorded each child's doll play responses on precoded record sheets. Independent variables considered in the study were child's age at father's departure, gender, quantity of contact, ethnicity, and maternal attitudes toward the nonresident father. A total of 18,846 fantasies were produced by the children and nearly 46 per cent included the absent father, while the present mother was included in 43 per cent of the fantasies. All of the children's father fantasies were categorized into "good,""bad" and "silhouette" fantasies. The "good" father fantasies, signifying affectionate, heroic, sexual, happy interactions with the father doll, accounted for 21 per cent of the father fantasies and were significantly associated with the maternal attitude variable. "Bad" fantasies, signifying aggressive, authoritarian, withdrawing, and sad interactions with the father doll were relatively few in number (8.6 per cent) and could be accounted for by several variables of which gender was the most important. The high proportion of "silhouette" fantasies, signifying passive, stereotyped, and unimaginitive doll interactions, (15.1 per cent) suggests that such fantasies, being relatively free from strong emotion and personal conflict, comprise an important element in the children's play. Conclusions drawn from the results are discussed. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (89th, Los Angeles, CA, August 24-28, 1981).