Author: Chan, Chun-cheong
Title: Divorce and its adaptation experienced by single fathers in Hong Kong : an exploratory study
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1997
Subject: Single fathers -- China -- Hong Kong
Divorce -- Psychological aspects
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Pages: iii, 94 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: In conjunction with the increasing divorce rate in our society, the incidence of fathers obtaining custody of children is increasing. Although the role of single father is more common than ever before, theoretically it is difficult to assume because men of any age are rarely socialized to be the primary caretaker of children. Fathers have few male role models for balancing the conflicting demands of work, housekeeping and child care. Moreover, cultural discrimination persists against fathers who assume the primary parenting role. In such situation, role strain is a possible outcome. Most single fathers experience significant difficulties coping with divorce, yet, because they do not easily ask for help, they often remain an under-served population among people in distress. Hiding behind a facade of well-being and self-reliance, they often express their pain and inability to cope through overwork, denial or other defensive reactions. Understanding of the unique experience in role strain and coping strategies of Chinese single fathers is deemed necessary before social service providers can provide appropriate help to them. The present study has adopted a long interview approach to study the experiences of two Chinese single fathers in Hong Kong who have dependent children at the time of study. Topics such as the meaning of divorce, the help-seeking patterns, areas of role strain, and coping strategies are explored in order to provide a comprehensive and detailed report on the experiences of the single fathers. Cultural factors have been taken into consideration throughout the process and some independent variables such as traditional image of masculinity, conception of face and life experience are also identified. The findings in this study indicate that the single fathers experience high level of role strain. However, they do not have any effective coping strategies. In regard to the single fathers' role strain, it is concluded that their situation may be improved if there are more education on single parenthood, more support groups for them, changes in social bias and gender stereotype, and more special training for social workers.

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