Adult Daughter's Retrospective Perception of Primary Male Figure Involvement and the Effects on Her Self-Esteem and Body Image

Nicole Ann Lentz, Purdue University


The objective of this study was to add to the research surrounding primary male figure involvement and the individual outcomes of daughters. Previous literature has primarily focused on biological father absence and the negative outcomes for daughters. The current study approached the topic from a resilience perspective and used the basic tenets of narrative theory, which purports that perception is more important than reality. The study included 96 women between the ages of 18 and 21 and asked about their perception of male involvement and allowed them to choose the primary male figure they considered most involved in their life. The study also examined the individual outcomes of self-esteem and body image. Findings indicated that the level of primary male figure involvement was significantly associated with self-esteem. The results indicated that as the level of primary male figure involvement increased, self-esteem levels of the young women also increased. Statistical significance was also found between the identity of the primary male figure and both body image concerns and self-esteem of the young women. These results indicated that when the identity of the primary male figure was someone other than her biological father she showed no difference in body image concerns or self-esteem. The results also indicated that when the participants perceived themselves as having “no primary male figure” their body image concerns and self-esteem were negatively affected.




Edwards, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology

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