ABSTRACT

For the majority of fathers, divorce means losing custody of their children. In 900/0 of divorce cases the mother is awarded custody (National Center for Health Statistics, 1985). However, as a result of the frequency with which couples seek divorce, of the pressures from the feminist movement, and of a gradual change in the attitudes and perceptions of the courts, the number of children living with single fathers is slowly rising (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1985). Only a few studies investigating children under their fathers' custody have been reported to date, but those studies indicate that this arrangement is no worse than maternal custody (Gasser & Taylor, 1976; George & Wilding, 1972; Greif, 1985; Jacobs, 1986; Levine, 1976; Mendes, 1976; Schlesinger, 1978). Researchers have reported that the problems facing fathers and children in motherless families do not impair the children's normal development. The negative result reported by Katz (1979) in his study of Australian fathers was a noted exception.