Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sibley, Daniel Scott

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Human Development and Family Sciences


Families--Study and teaching


This purpose of this study was to explore the relationships of emerging adult daughters with their fathers from childhood to adulthood, and how those unique experiences over time, impact their personal romantic relationships. Research has shown that father and daughter relationships are important and can impact women in their ability to function in romantic relationships. Fathers play a crucial role in how daughters form ideas about their own romantic relationships, since the father is generally the first male figure daughters have in their lives. Twenty-four emerging adult women (ages 18-25) irrespective of their relationship with their biological father, and data was collected through intensive interviews. The interviews were analyzed using constructivist grounded theory, which highlighted the individuals' actions, definitions, meanings, and beliefs about their personal experiences. Participants in this study defined father involvement as "being there" in some way, shape, or form for their daughters. Nine themes emerged in the data: fathers can give daughters hope for romantic relationships, fathers can influence their daughters' perceptions of romantic relationships, difficulty trusting others, not sure what to expect in romantic relationships, awareness of parent's relationship shortcomings, fear of mirroring parent's relationship, relationship expectations, fathers can be the example, and stay true to self. The results broaden our understanding of the father-daughter dyad, and can be beneficial to clinicians, educators, and other professionals. The findings of this study can also be applied in a way to foster more intentional decision-making for emerging daughters in their romantic relationships.


Advisors: Daniel Scott Sibley.||Committee members: Sophie Li; Florensia Surjadi.||Includes bibliographical references.


74 pages




Northern Illinois University

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