Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Delanyard Robinson

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Joy A. Cooley

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez-Hucles


The current study examined the relationships between the quality and quantity of time that young Black female college students spent with their fathers during high school as related to romantic attachment and fear of intimacy. Although researchers have investigated the impact that early attachment bonds to mothers have for later psychosocial development, much less research has examined how attachment to fathers may be associated with psychosocial adjustment in young adulthood. In particular, there is a lack of information on how relationships to one's father or father figure may be associated with adjustment in young women from culturally diverse populations.

To address this issue, a college student sample of Black women ( N = 185) completed an online survey that assessed paternal attachment, the quality and quantity of time fathers' spent with respondents during high school, general attachment, romantic attachment, and fear of intimacy. Specifically, participants completed the Parental Attachment Questionnaire (PAQ; Kenny, 1987), the Father-Daughter Scale (FDS; Brown, Thompson, & Traffimow, 2002), the Relationship Scales Questionnaire (RSQ, Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994), Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R; Fraley, Waller, & Brennan, 2000), and the Fear of Intimacy Scale (Descutner & Thelen, 1991).

It was hypothesized that women who reported better relationships with and spent more time with their fathers during high school would report more secure overall attachment, less anxious and avoidant attachment behaviors in their romantic relationships, and less fear of intimacy. As predicted, relationship to their fathers in high school significantly predicted anxiety and avoidance in romantic relationship; however, the only significant predictor of anxiety and avoidant romantic behaviors was respondents' reports of the affective quality of their relationships with their fathers. Specifically, higher affective quality predicted lower anxiety and avoidant behaviors in romantic relationships. However, results of the overall multiple regression did not yield support for the prediction that college student women who reported better relationships with their fathers would report less fear of intimacy in their romantic relationships. These results indicate that the affective quality of young Black women's relationships with their fathers is associated with the degree of anxiety and avoidant behaviors they report in their romantic relationships.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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