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  • Shanna Donhauser

Fatherhood in Attachment Theory

Fathers in Attachment Theory_ A case for fatherhood - white paper
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This is a white paper that I completed for my MSc in Attachment Theory, focusing on the attachment research conducted with fathers and the wider role that fathers play in the lives and development of their children.

It comes down to this: fathers matter.


  • Research shows that even accounting for other confounding factors like income and education level, father absence has long-term effects on adult mental health outcomes for their children

  • Father absence impacts children’s socio-emotional development, increasing externalizing behaviors that often interrupt education and peer relationships

  • Father absence is correlated with increased incarceration rates for adolescents, even when accounting for poverty, racial inequality, teen pregnancy, and low parental education

  • Fathers affect children’s language and cognitive development through play engagement, the mother’s quality of engagement with their children, and education and income achievement

In the context of divorce, children whose fathers remain actively involving in their life and regular care have better outcomes in terms of sociability, less anxiety/depression, and better academic performance.

In the context of attachment theory, fathers play an important role. And the studies are clear: If you care about positive outcomes for children, fathers need more support and they need to be valued for the role they provide.

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