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The unexpected family transition for single father families: A grounded theory approach

Robert L. Harrison, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This research was designed to explore the transition to single-father families from the perspective of fathers and their children. A grounded theory was developed from interviews with children of single-fathers and then compared with a grounded theory from the father’s perspective to gain a holistic view of this family transition. ^ Central to the transition process for children was becoming an independent family resource because of reduced access family resources previously available in the two-parent household (i.e., financial, social/emotional and household management resources). The children’s perspective of this transition provided insights into how children are socialized to become consumers when the primary socializing agent is male. The children discussed adaption strategies to becoming involved in the shopping process, more conscious of individual and family spending patterns, developing production skills, learning to shop, and changing attitudes toward negative depictions of fathers in television and advertising. ^ The benefit of obtaining both father’s and children’s perspective of the transition were twofold: (1) the children’s perspective validated the father’s perspective as their perspectives on the transition converged in several areas including understanding that fathers reprioritize their lifespaces to become a much more involved and different fathers; (2) offering diverging information about shopping dimensions, transportation issues, managing the relationship with their mothers, and responses to consumer socialization attempts. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Harrison, Robert L., "The unexpected family transition for single father families: A grounded theory approach" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3355622.