College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Joseph R. Ferrari, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

LaVome Robinson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Verena Graupmann, Ph.D.


The U.S. divorce rate increased substantially from WWII until the 1980's. Although the number of divorces decreased marginally in the past decade, the number of marriages also decreased, causing the divorce rate to remain nearly unchanged from 2000 to 2010. The most frequently cited negative effect of divorce and separation is perhaps the loss of father-child contact, although little research was dedicated to understanding the post-divorce outcomes of fathers - especially with regard to their long-term outcomes. The present study assessed how several factors (e.g. parenting decisions, custody status, parenting efficacy, and parenting encouragement) influenced divorced fathers' psychological well-being. Results from a path analysis showed that participants who did not maintain full or shared custody experienced reduced parenting opportunities and well-being. Implications for community psychologists and policy makers are discussed.