Lived experiences of adolescent boys with absent fathers




Adolescent, experience, absent fatherhood, single-mother families


The phenomenon of absent fathers continues to be one of the major social problems affecting families globally. This study examined the lived experiences of adolescent boys who grow up in absent father families. The objectives of this study were to elucidate the experiences of adolescent boys with absent fathers, to describe the challenges faced by adolescent boys who grow up without a father and to determine their understanding of the role and value of having a father. A qualitative approach was followed for this study. Data were collected from 18 adolescent boys through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions. The data collected was analysed thematically. The findings showed that adolescent boys regarded fathers as important figures in their lives and their families. The absence of fathers in their total upbringing has some negative ramifications, among others, financial challenges, poor academic progress, alcohol abuse and lack of immediate gender role model.


Download data is not yet available.


Bradshaw, C., Atkinson, S., & Doody, O.. (2017). Employing a qualitative description approach in health care research, Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 4, 1-8.

Cartwright, A.D. & Henriksen Jr., R.C., (2012). The lived experience of Black collegiate males with absent fathers: Another generation, Journal of professional counselling: Practice, Theory and Research, 39(2), 29-39.

Clarke, V. & Braun, V., (2013). Teaching thematic analysis: Over-coming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning, The Psychologist, 26 (2), 120-123.

Creswell, J.W., (2012). Educational research: Planning, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research, 4th Edition, Boston: Pearson.

East, L., Hutchinson, M., Power, T., & Jackson, D. (2020). Being a father: constructions of fatherhood by men with absent fathers, Journal of Family Studies, 26:3, 477-487.

East, L., Hutchinson, M., Power, T., & Jackson, D., (2017). Men’s constructions of mothering: Growing up in father-absent families, International Journal of Men’s Health, 16(1), 37-48.

Eddy, M.M, Thomson-de Boor H. & Mphaka K., (2013). So we are ATM fathers: A study of the absent father in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sonke Gender Justice Network. Retrieved from:, Accessed on 26 April 2021.

Freeks F., (2017). Responding to the challenge of father absence and fatherlessness in the South African context: A case study involving concerned fathers from the North West Province, Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 3(1), 89-113.

Hill, S., Proffitt-Leyva, R.P., & DelPriore, D.J., (2016). Absent fathers and sexual strategies, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29(6), 436-439.

Holborn, L., & Eddy, G., (2011). First steps to healing the South African family, Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations.

Khewu, N., & Adu, E.O., (2015). Black fathers’ involvement in the early education of their children and associated factors: South African Context, Journal of Social Sciences, 42(1,2), 1-9.

Lambert, A.V., & Lambert, E.C., (2012). Qualitative descriptive research: An acceptable design, Pacific Rim International Journal of Nursing Research, 16(4), 255-256.

Langa, M. (2017). Boys to men: Narrating life stories of fatherhood and work life amongst young black men, Psychology in Society, 55, 61-83.

Langa, M., (2014). Meaning making in growing up without a father: Narratives of young adolescent boys, The Open Family Studies Journal, 6, 56-61.

Langton, C.E. & Berger, L.M., (2011). Family structure and adolescent physical health, behaviour and emotional well-being, Social Services Review, 85(3), 323-357.

Mabusela, M.H. (2014). Absent fathers: An eco-systemic exploration of context, Masters Dissertation, Department of Psychology, University of South Africa.

Magqamfana, S, & Bazana, S., (2020). Absent fathers: Psychological and socio-economic implications for black children and direction for future research, Journal of Psychology in Africa, 30(3), 169-173.

Maguire, M. & Delahunt, B., (2017). Doing a thematic analysis: A practical step-by-step guide for learning and teaching scholars, Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 8 (3), 3351-33514.

Nieuwenhuis, J., (2016). Introducing qualitative research, in K. Maree (ed), First steps in research, pp. 50-70, Van Schaik Publishers: Pretoria.

Nieuwenhuis, R. & Maldonado, L.C., (2018). The triple bind of single-parent families: Resources, employment and policies to improve well-being. Policy Press: Great Britain.

Pitsoane, E.M., & Gasa, V.G., (2018). The role of father-son relationship in behavioural and emotional development of adolescent boys, Gender and Behaviour, 16 (1), 10748-10757.

Qutoshi, S., B. (2018). Phenomenology: A philosophy and method of inquiry, Journal of Education and Educational Development, 5(1), 215-222.

Richter, D. & Lemola, S., (2017). Growing up with a single mother and life satisfaction in adulthood: A test of mediating and moderating factors, PLoS ONE, 12(6), 1-15.

Sekgale, I.L., (2017). Perceptions of the phenomenon ‘absent fathers’ within the context of Mphanama Community, Masters Dissertation, Department of Social Sciences, University of Limpopo

Spjeldnaes, I.O., Moland, K.M., Harris, J. & Sam, D.L., (2011). Being man enough: Fatherhood experiences and expectations among teenage boys in South Africa, Fathering, 9(1), 3-21.

Spjeldnaes, I.O., Moland, K.M., Harris, J. & Sam, D.L., (2014). Mothering in Limpopo, South Africa: Perspectives of Adolescents, Psychology and Society, 6(2), 57-77.

Vaismoradi, M., Turunen, H., & Bondas, T., (2013). Content analysis and thematic analysis: Implications for conducting a qualitative descriptive study, Nursing and Health Sciences, 15, 389-405.

Van den Berg, W. & Makusha, T., (2018). State of South Africa’s Fathers 2018, Cape Town: Sonke Gender Justice & Human Sciences Research Council.

Wagner, C., Kawulich, B.B. & Gardener, M. (2012). Doing research: a global context, McGraw- Hill-higher Education: United Kingdom.



2022-06-29 — Updated on 2022-07-07


How to Cite

Phasha, K. T., Calvin, M. J., & Mokone, J. M. (2022). Lived experiences of adolescent boys with absent fathers . International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147- 4478), 11(5), 388–393. (Original work published June 29, 2022)



Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences