According to Bowlby (1988) and Ainsworth (1985) human beings have been given an innate desire to be close to others, as early as the end of the first year of life babies are able to differentiate their caregivers from others and develop positive emotional bonds. For an infant, being relatively helpless, much time and energy is needed to put into the constant supervision that is required to fulfill their needs. As strong, emotional bonds are created between an infant and its caregiver, the child is able to positively develop skills that will eventually guide them towards independence Bowlby, 1988). This is able to occur because the infant has a sense of protection and safety from the caregiver and is therefore able to explore the world without too much hesitation or caution (Clinton and Sibcy, 2002).
Most often, this attachment starts with the infants parents. The mother, of course, is usually always the first object of attachment; however, after a few months, the infant can begin to attach more closely to others who are most often present in their lives (Bowlby, 1988 & Ainsworth, 1985). If both parents are present, an infant tends to attach in the same style with both parents (Fox, Kimmerly, & Schafer, 1991). According to Colin (1996) and Cassidy (1999) several factors help to predict who will be in the infant's radius of significant attachment figures. These include time spent in the care of the individual, the quality and responsiveness of care provided, the individual's emotional investment in the infant, and the presence of the person in the infant's life over time. Thus, the maternal and paternal attachment figure can have similar significance in the infant's life. However, depending on the time spent between the parent and infant, these relationships tend to become established independently. According to Fox, Kimmerly, & Schafer (1991) when both parents are present, infants tend to act playfully with their fathers by laughing and smiling and with their mothers, infants tend to be more comforted and at ease. Additionally, Lamb (1976) studied a sample of 126 first born sons and he found that 60% of them had secure attachments with their fathers when they were 13 months of age. He also found that infants showed no preference towards attachment figure except when a stranger was present, in these instances the infant showed preference to the mother. Also, an Israeli study demonstrates that it is the combination of several secure attachments that predicts social competence rather than solely the attachment between mother and child (Sagi & van IJzendoorn, 1996).
The combination of these two loving attachment figures leaves the infant feeling protected, loved, and cared for (Goodyear-Smith, 1999). Goodyear and Smith indicate that good father/child bonding and a supportive as well as affectionate father decreases all likelihood of poor adult attachments.
Kubit (1999) surveyed 50 females and found that there was a significant relationship between attachment to fathers and self-esteem. Kubit (1999) did a study surveying 50 females who attended a California University. She found that respondents who reported more positive behavior traits of their fathers also reported higher levels of self-esteem. She drew the connection between relationship with father, self-esteem and future romantic relationships. Those females with the highest levels of security in their romantic relationships also reported more positive qualities of their fathers. For the purposes of her study romantic relationships were defined as, "involvement with a partner that evokes feelings of happiness, comfort and harmony" (Kubit, 1999).
The combination of two loving and supportive parents thus allows the child to develop trust in others, better future relationships, and confidence in self (Kubit, 1999, & Clinton & Sibcy, 2002).
When a child does not receive the care that is needed due to neglect, abuse, or any other family disruption, then establishing secure attachments becomes difficult (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002). When the child no longer feels safe, then it becomes harder for them to completely trust in their caregivers. Care might become inconsistent which leaves a child confused. Bowlby's (1979) main focus was on child and caregiver relationships. However, Bowlby also found that within the stages of development, if a child begins to develop insecure attachments with primary caregivers, then the trend is that the child will continue to develop insecure relational attachments beyond childhood and throughout life.
Today, less than half of all children in the U.S. come from two-parent families (Lamb, 2004). Consequently, this merits concern for the more than 50% of children who are growing up with less than two primary attachment figures. The purpose of this paper is to describe the changes as well as the effects of father-absence and paternal deprivation on attachment. It will also build on the work of Clinton and Sibcy (2002) who present a model for treating attachment issues and explore how insecure attachments can be corrected by the use of a model which places God at the center and in a position of a substitute paternal attachment figure; in addition to Clinton and Sibcy's (2002) model this study will also build upon Kirkpatrick's (1998) concept of relating to God as a substitute attachment figure.
Chapter One: Literature Review
This chapter will explore the research that is relevant to this study including important societal trends regarding the absence of the father in the home, attachment theory, paternal attachment, and "adopting God as a substitute attachment figure" (Kirkpatrick, 1998) Within the last forty years, a drastic shift has taken place within the American family (Lamb, 2004). According to Lamb (2004) in the early 1960's, nearly 90 percent of all children lived with both of their biological parents until adulthood, however today, less than 50 percent of all children live with both biological parents. According to these statistics, approximately eleven million men currently live apart from their biological children. Additionally, Lamb has found that of these children whose lives have been disrupted by parental divorce or separation, one-third of them will eventually live with a step-parent. This in turn leads to more family disruption due to the commonality of competition between the step-parent and child in regard to gaining affection and attention from the biological parent.
Statement of the Problem
Effects of Father-Absence. While father-absence is a major factor that disrupts a family environment, it must be noted that it is not the only factor that brings about the environmental decline. Other environmental stresses that are associated with father-absence are divorce, poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, familial conflict, eroding parental control, and low education level of the parent (Ellis et. al., 2003). For the purposes of this study paternal deprivation can be described as maltreatment of a child in which maltreatment is defined as physical abuse, physical neglect, verbal abuse, emotional neglect, or sexual abuse. While many of these factors can be present within an intact two-parent home, the likelihood is much less than in a single-parent environment (Dawson, 1988). McLanahan (1999) has found that children who are raised in a single-parent home have a substantially lower success rate in school, work, and in their community than children who were raised with both biological parents. A key reason for this is when a father leaves the home; he is less likely to share his income with his children. McLanahan's (1999) research study shows that over fifty percent of a family's income can be lost due to a separation or divorce. This lack of income security can severely effect a child's well being by the substantial decline within the families standards of living and by greatly limiting the quality of education to which the child has access. By not having a stable and secure income from both parents, many adolescents, out of discouragement choose not to pursue higher education and in some cases even lose all motivation to complete high school. In research obtained by McLanahan (1999), it was found that high school drop out rates are doubled when focusing on students who grow up with just one biological parent. While these findings are similar to both boys and girls who live with only one biological parent, there are two factors that uniquely separate the sexes when focus is placed on father-absence. For boys, there is an increased risk of delinquent activity if there is not a father figure present; while for girls there is an increased risk of early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy.
Horn and Sylvester (2001) conducted research on adolescent boys from similar backgrounds and family situations to determine causes of delinquent behavior. Of the boys with no criminal record, 80% said they had a close relationship with their biological father. When asked about their reasons for staying out of trouble, a common answer was that they wanted to protect their established relationships with their fathers and criminal behavior would be disapproved. Of the boys with a criminal record, findings revealed that 45% said they had no father figure in the home, 30% had a stepfather, and only 4% had a biological father living at home.
For girls, the increased risk due to father-absence is early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy. Ellis et al. (2003) conducted a longitudinal study with father-absent girls in both the United States and New Zealand. The concluding findings within this study showed that adolescent pregnancy rates were approximately seven times higher in the U.S. among early father-absent girls, (that is before the age of five), than among father-present girls. With other environmental factors added in, such as poverty, the relation still showed that early father-absent girls were three times more likely to become pregnant than those girls with a biological father in the home (See Appendix B). The findings also suggested that girls whose early childhood is characterized by father-absence tend to grow up with the belief that the male parental role is unimportant and unreliable. Therefore, many of these girls grow up and establish an unstable pair-bond with their own partners which in turn can continue a vicious cycle of father-absence within the family (Ellis et al., 2003).
As mentioned before, there are many factors that can lead to the decline within the family environment and father-absence is just one of many. However, according to the findings presented, father-absence has a much larger impact than what might be expected. Research has overwhelmingly shown that the chances of a child developing into a healthy and successful adult is greatly enhanced when children are co-parented and are able to establish a loving and caring attachment relationship with both mother and father.
Attachment is conceptualized as a system separate from other systems, such as feeding, mating, and exploration (Sperling & Berman, 1994). From an evolutionary perspective the onset of the attachment system simultaneously with locomotion is logical. This system assists in assuring that the infant does not stray too far from parents and that the infant can explore from a secure base (Ainsworth,1967; Sperling & Berman, 1994). This system can be activated and deactivated when necessary, but it is stated that the child must develop internal working models of themselves and their attachment figures in order to do so (Sperling & Berman, 1994; Bowlby, 1988). Those internal models can be conceptualized in terms of types, such as avoidant, ambivalent, disorganized and secure (Clinton and Sibcy, 2002). Different terms have been used to refer to these categories, for example Newman and Newman (2003) use the preface anxious for two of the three insecure styles (avoidant and resistant) and they use the term resistant instead of ambivalent.
Beginning at birth, infants construct the previously discussed working models of the self and others (Sperling & Berman, 1994). The building of these attachment models coincides with the task of object permanence from 9 to 18 months of age (Piaget, 1954; Sperling and Berman, 1994). Depending upon the parents' response to the infant secure or insecure attachments will begin to emerge (Sperling & Berman, 1994).
Clinton and Sibcy (2002), conceptualize these working models in terms of "rules" about self and others. Individuals with an avoidant attachment style hold fast to rules about others that indicate other people are not reliable, dependable or trustworthy (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002). Avoidant attachment style involves rules or models of the self that are characterized by statements such as, "I must rely on myself alone to meet my needs," "I don't need you, I'll do it myself." Persons with an avoidant attachment style may believe that there is no one qualified to be a confidant (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002). Clinton and Sibcy (2002) suggest that individuals with this attachment style most frequently turn to substances or anything that provides comfort, inferring that this is the genesis of addiction. The replacement of relationships leads to a sense of false intimacy which can become addictive (Schaumburg, 1993).
Those with an ambivalent attachment style have self models characterized by statements such as, "I am/feel incompetent," and "I struggle to handle things on my own" (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002). Their models of others include statements such as, "Others are capable of meeting my needs but may not do so because of my flaws," and "Others are trustworthy and reliable but might abandon me because of my worthlessness." Clinton and Sibcy (2002) list possible causes of the ambivalent attachment style as the cold-shoulder treatment, overprotection, the withholding of protection and approval, and invisible fences (just as a dog associates the painful shock with going past the fence the ambivalent individual associates painful disapproval with the experience of autonomy and independence).
The third type of insecure attachment is called the disorganized attachment style (Newman & Newman, 2003). Their models of self and others include statements such as, "I am not worthy of love," "Others are unable to meet my needs," and "Others are abusive and I deserve it," and they can shift back and forth between avoidant and ambivalent attachment styles.
The final attachment style is secure. Individuals with this attachment style have a positive view of self and others. Characteristics of the secure self include confidence, trust, emotional strength, willingness to seek and accept comfort and courage for love and intimacy (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002).
Paternal Attachment Research.
The mother-child attachment has been a central focus of attachment research. However, noting the trends in the increase of father absence and single parent house holds presents a challenge for father-child attachment. The depths of this potential area of research have yet to be explored (Brabeck, Kenny, Lomax & Fife, 1998). The purpose of this paper is to further examine paternal attachment and to test a model of repairing insecure attachment.
Grimes (2002) has found that children's attachment to fathers is strongly related to fathers' perceptions of marital quality, time fathers spend with their children, fathers' attitudes towards parenting, and fathers' attachment style with their own parents (Grimes, 2002). These variables overlap somewhat with the variables that Colin (1996) and Cassidy (1999) suggest are predictive of attachment, including amount of time spent in care, quality of care, the person's emotional investment, and presence of the person in life across time. Implicitly, this further demonstrates the difficulty in attachment when the father is not present or involved in the child's life.
Ducharme, Doyle and Markiewicz (2002) found that adolescents from two-parent households were more likely to be securely attached to both their mothers and to their fathers. Ducharme et al. (2002) also found that children who were securely attached to their mother and fathers scored higher in emotional expressiveness. Ducharme et al. (2002) found that dismissing attachment style with father was related to more negative interactions with peers. There was a positive relationship between adolescents, who had secure attachments to their fathers and their peer relationships (Ducharme et al,). Ducharme et al. (2002) attributes this finding to the fact that sometimes fathers take on the playmate role, so in comparison with mother child attachment the father-child attachment may be more representative of the peer relationship.
As well as a correlation between positive peer interactions and secure attachment to fathers (Ducharme et al., 2002) there is also a relationship between insecure attachment and depression and social anxiety in adolescents. Papini, Roggman, and Anderson (1991) also found a positive relationship between perceived attachment to father and family cohesion and expressiveness. Papini et al. (1991) also noted an inverse relationship between perceived father attachment and pubertal maturation. Papini et al. confirms the buffering hypothesis which states that strong attachments may buffer adolescents from both anxiety and depression (Anderson et al. 1991).
Fincham, Lycett and Maio (2000) found that there was a positive relationship between children who were ambivalent towards their fathers and their attachment styles within relationships such as increasing ambivalence toward father corresponded with insecure attachment to others. Fincham et al. (2000) discuss the concept of attitudinal ambivalence conceptualized as a set of attitudes which are evaluations of attitude objects and evaluations based on different components of information. It is especially relevant to relationships namely those that can be characterized as love-hate relationships. Finchman et al. (2000) findings also reveal that ambivalent attachment toward fathers was a better predictor of insecure attachment towards others than ambivalent attachment towards mothers. Insecure attachment is conceptualized as an internalized set of beliefs that include believing that oneself is not worthy of love, believing that one is not capable of getting the love one needs and/or others are not willing and able to love oneself (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002). Clintion and Sibcy describe the manifestation of ambivalent attachment as having two distinct "rules" regarding the behavior of the self and of others, these include, that the self is not worthy of love and not capable of getting love without utilizing inappropriate methods, and the rules about others include that others are capable of loving but may not because of the ambivalent person's flaws. Additionally, others are seen as trustworthy but they may abandon the individual because of the individual's worthlessness. Conversely, Clinton and Sibcy describe the secure attachment style as being characterized by beliefs that indicate that one is worthy of love, capable of acquiring needed love, and the belief that others are both willing and able to provide love to oneself. The absence of ambivalence toward the father has been found to be positively related to secure attachment, but not towards other types of attachment (Fincham, et al., 2000).
It is stated that ambivalent children do not fit into the insecure attachment style because they have integrated their positive and negative experiences too well (Fincham et al., 2000). These findings are consistent with other research (Ducharme et al., 2002). Fincham et al. hypothesize that the attachment to the father is a better predictor of social relations because he is not the primary caretaker, thus relating to him is more representative of relating to others outside the home (Fincham et al., 2000). In another study, McElwain and Volling (2004) confirm this in that fathers may take on the role of 'playmate' during early childhood and their attachments give significant contributions towards children's interactions with friends. This is a crucial issue because increasing studies are showing the role of the father is more important than was once thought (Fincham et al., 2000). A common statement found in much of the research is that the father's role in attachment merits more empirical research (McElwain & Volling, 2004; Papini, Roggman, & Anderson, 1991; Finchman, Lycett, & Maio 2000).
In response to the rising number of fathers living apart from their biological children, the negative effects associated with this trend, and the role of the father in attachment, the idea that Kirkpatrick (1998) calls adopting (or receiving) God (for the purposes of this paper references to God refer to the Christian God) as a substitute attachment figure specifically for individuals with absent fathers is applied. Implications for counseling include using this model as .
Studies have been done to conceptualize God as an attachment figure comprising God as a safe haven, secure base for exploration, seeking/maintaining proximity to God, and responding to separation from God (Sim & Bernice, 2000). Sim and Bernice found that attachment to God demonstrated incremental validity for optimism which is consistent with the belief that one of the key attributes of God is a provision of hope. Sim and& Bernice indicate that a meaning of hope can be conceptualized in several different ways including the finding of meaning in difficult situations. Hope is of the essence for those individuals with less than optimal paternal attachment and those at risk for teen pregnancy, high school drop out, drug abuse, and delinquent behaviors that correlate with father absence (Dawson, 1988).
Insecure attachment has been found to be linked to significant religious changes and sudden religious conversions in support of the compensation hypothesis (this hypothesis states insecure attachment was the catalyst for increases in religious behaviors that promote the use of God to compensate as an attachment figure) (Granqvist, 2002). Specifically, ambivalent/preoccupied and fearful-avoidant attachment in peers was a predictor of increases in religiosity and dismissive attachment styles was linked to a decrease in religiosity (Kirkpatrick, 1997; Granqvist, 2002). Kirkpatrick (1998) sought to measure the correlation between attachment and the perception of God as one with whom a secure attachment relationship is possible. Kirkpatrick (1998) found that those who had mental models of others that were positive (those who saw opportunities for intimate relations with others as a possibility) had an associated belief that an attachment relationship with God was possible.
Individuals with negative or insecure models of self may be those who are most strongly motivated to turn to an unconditionally loving God as an attachment figure, however, it is those individuals who have a positive view or a secure view of others that are most able to turn to God as an attachment figure (Kirkpatrick, 1998). This indicates, it may seem very appealing for individuals who have insecure attachment styles to attach to a God who is accepting and unconditionally loving, but it is very difficult for someone who has a negative mental model of other attachment figures to believe that such a relationship is actually feasible; alternatively, it is those individuals who have a positive or secure mental model of others and a negative model of specifically those with an ambivalent attachment style that are associated with the most powerful religious conversions. Conceptualizing religiosity as being predicted by attachment and most positively correlated with those individuals who have a positive model of others leaves the question as to which is foundational in the attachment process, attachment to God or attachment to others. Since, Kirkpatrick (1998) has found that those who have positive models of others are most able to adopt God as an attachment figure and those who are securely attached to others are securely attached to God, this leaves the inference that one must develop positive models of attachment figures or others in order to have secure attachments with God.
The conceptualization of God proves helpful for the avoidant type in that God can not be thought of as one who will be unjust or disappointing based on the nature of His character, rectifying the notion that attachment figures cannot be depended upon (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002). This is corrective for those with ambivalent attachment style because God by His nature is one who will never leave or forsake His own, and both these concepts are operative for the disorganized attachment style. A synthesis of the corrective attachment models such as the one that Clinton and Sibcy (2002) formulated to correct insecure attachment can be integrated with God as a substitute attachment figure (Kirkpatrick, 1998) to develop a more comprehensive model that addresses the needs of those with insecure paternal attachment.
Several measures will be utilized to evaluate attachment style. First is the Adult Attachment Scale (AAS) (Collins & Read, 1990). The AAS is an instrument that has been adapted. This will be used with adult respondents only. The original scale was developed by Hazen and Shaver (1991). Hazen and Shaver's objective was to identify attachment styles as secure, avoidant, or anxious/ambivalent as they were conceptualized by Ainsworth et al. (1978) in infants. The AAS now has three scales that are factor analytically derived. The three scales measure closeness, dependency and anxiety, respectively. The closeness subscale evaluates an individual's level of comfort with intimacy and closeness to others. The dependency subscale examines the extent to which individuals place trust in others or place dependence upon others. The third sub-scale, examines anxiety as it is associated with fears of being unloved and fears of being abandoned. The responses are in a Likert-scale format. Collins and Read (1990) also found that scores are correlated with the attitudes that one has toward oneself and toward others and the scores also correlate with romantic relationships. Collins and Read also found that this instrument has been found to be superior in the literature. Additionally, Burge et al. (1997) has found that the AAS has been successful in predicting depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
However, the AAS is found to have lower score reliability than the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), so this will be given less weight than the IPPA in the results section and the discussion section (Reese, Keiffer, & Briggs, 2002).
Additionally, the IPPA (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987) will be used. The IPPA was designed to detect the extent to which the adolescent feels a sense of psychological security in response to relationships with both parents and peers, or to measure their perceptions of the quality of relationships that they possess with both parents and friends. For the purposes of this study, only the items that relate to mother and father were used. The IPPA also uses a five-point Likert-type scale format. This inventory is meant to be used during adolescence so the parent-child relationship has not yet lost its strength as it is likely to have during adulthood and participants are more likely to respond based on their present interactions as opposed to responding in a retrospective manner which is a concern with adult attachment measures (Crowell et al., 1999).
The Attitude Towards Father Scale (ATFS) (Copenhaver & Eisler, 2000) will also be used as part of this battery in order to assess the relationship with the father more specifically, and to uncover dynamics that may not present in the IPPA or the AAS. The ATFS was developed because of the absence of a father specific measure in the research. Copenhaver and Eisler's research on the ATFS reveals that it is a valid instrument.
In addition to measuring attachment to parents the researcher also wants to evaluate attachment to God after participants are exposed to the treatment model. The Attachment to God Measure was created by Sim and Loh (2003) and the theoretical basis is Kirkpatrick's (1999) conceptualization as God as a safe haven, God as a secure base, seeking and maintaining proximity to God, and responses to separation from God. The assessment is a 16-item questionnaire and items are assessed each of the four attachment categories. One example of a statement that is rated on the six point Likert-type scale is, "God is always available whenever I am in need." Respondents rates these questions as they relate to the God of their religion.
The Attachment to God Measure shows promise for research application (Sim and Loh, 2003). It is also a response to Crowell et al.'s (1999) call for a continuous rather than categorical approach to studying attachment. Sim and Loh also report internal consistency associated with the measure. Additionally, the examination of the measure demonstrated that the relationship to God as an attachment figure is unique as evidenced by its low relation to attachment to mother and attachment to father. Although, this instrument shows promise it is important to remember the reliability concerns associated with self-report data when evaluating the results.
Purpose of the study. The purpose of the study is to determine the effectiveness of Kirkpatrik (1998) and Clinton & Sibcy (2002) theories utilized with the father absent population. Kirkpatrick's theory involves conceptualizing God as a substitute attachment figure and Clinton & Sibcy's treatment model involves the emotionally corrective experience. The hope is that implementation of these theoretical constructs will improve attachment security in the father absent population. Improvement in attachment security will be measured by the IPPA and the Attachment to God measure.
This study is relevant for those practicing counseling, those teaching counseling, and those doing research regarding efficacy or evidence-based practices. The constructs of father absence, attachment theory, and God have been examined individually. However, the integration of Kirkpatrick's (1998) and Clinton and Sibcy's (2002) work and the specific application of these theoretical constructs to the father absent population is the new contribution to the field. The aforementioned statistics have indicated that father absence is an issue in society and this may provide a viable treatment option for therapists and counselor educators to utilize. Additionally, this study may be of interest to counselors and counselor educators because there is currently a trend in the field that involves emphasizing research on spirituality in APA ethical standards. Additionally, it has been found that most counselors/psychologists think that addressing spirituality with clients is important (Hathaway, Scott, & Garver, 2004). However, Hathaway, Scott, and Garver found that most do not regularly assess this area when developing a treatment plan. Therefore, this study may benefit counselors and counselor educators in enhancing their clinical work and teaching of clinical work.
Rational for the study. As Bowlby (1988) and Ainsworth (1985) indicate human beings have been given an innate desire to be close to others, as early as the end of the first year of life babies are able to differentiate their caregivers from others and develop positive emotional bonds. Children are able to attach to both mother and father (Clinton & Sibcy, 2002 ). However, fatherlessness is a significant problem (Lamb, 2004). Thus, how can children attach to the father if he is absent. Some theorists have indicated that attachment to God is possible (Kirkpatrick, 1998; Clinton & Sibcy, 2002; & Sim & Loh, 2003). Clintion and Sibcy (2002) also demonstrate that an emotionally corrective experience is possible. Thus, empirical research on a practical model for facilitating attachment to God and utilizing this as a treatment model for those impacted by father absence will be a valuable contribution in that it has the potential to provide empirical support for an attachment based treatment model and will help close the gap in the research regarding the role of the father.
Research Questions. The research questions to be answered in this study include: "Does insecure attachment (as evidenced by the AAS and the IPPA) correlate with secure attachment to God (as evidenced by the Attachment to God Measure)? A second research question is, "Does participation in the treatment group increase secure attachment (as evidenced by the AAS and the IPPA) to parental attachment figures?" The third research question is, "Is attachment to God (as evidenced by Attachment to God Measure) increased by participation in the treatment group?" The last research question is, "If attachment to God is increased (as evidenced by the Attachment to God Measure) is the attitude towards the father improved (as evidenced by scores on the ATFS)?
Hypothesis. For the first question the null hypothesis is, Ho: There is no significant correlation between insecure attachment (as evidenced by the AAS or the IPPA) and attachment to God. The alternative hypothesis indicates, H1: As insecure attachment increases there is a significant decrease in attachment to God (as evidenced by the Attachment to God Measure). For the second research question the null hypothesis states, H1: There is no significant increase in the attachment security of participants (as evidenced by the AAS or the IPPA) after participating in the treatment group. The alternative hypothesis for the second research question indicates, H1: There is a significant increase in attachment security (as evidenced by the AAS and IPPA) after participation in the treatment group. The null hypothesis for the third research question is, Ho: As attachment to God increases there is no significant increase in the attitude towards father (as evidenced by the ATFS and the IPPA). The alternative hypothesis for the last research question is: H1: As security of attachment to God increases there is a significant improvement in the attitude towards the father (as evidenced by the ATFS).
The aforementioned literature reveals that father absence is an issue and the role of the father merits more empirical research, the aforementioned literature also reveals that he may play an important role in the process of attachment. Additionally, some researchers such as Kirkpatirck (1998), Clinton and Sibcy (2002), and Sim and Loh (2003) indicate that God may serve as a unique attachment figure and even a substitute attachment figure (Kirkcpatrick, 1998). The purpose of this paper is to expand on the work of Kirkpatrick and Clinton and Sibcy in facilitating attachment to God as a model of treatment by applying this treatment modality specifically to those who struggle with insecure attachments to their biological fathers as indicated by the ATFS or the AAS. In the next chapter, the participants involved in the study will be described, the measures used will be explored in further detail along with their reliability and validity, operational definitions of the relevant terms will be provided, and the procedure that involves providing participants the opportunity to participate in an eight week psycho-educational group will be explained.
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