Father Absence in the Lives of Female African Youth Living in Mpumalanga, South Africa Christianity is a Coping Strategy That Builds and Strengthens Resilience

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Priscilla Gerrand


father absence, Christianity, coping strategy, South Africa.


Father absence in the family system is a pervasive, critical social problem in South Africa. It is related to a number of issues such as rape, migration, denied paternity and incarceration. A qualitative case study conducted in Mpumalanga, South Africa, explored how African young women experience absent fathers. Non-probability, purposive and random sampling were used to recruit prospective participants. Data were gathered by personally interviewing twenty research participants, aged between 15 and 25 years. Data were analysed thematically. Findings revealed that young women demonstrate the ability to manage this type of significant ‘loss’ by using Christianity as a constructive coping strategy. The conclusion drawn is that social workers adopting the strengths-based approach and the role of religious constructivist can enhance the healthy psychological, social and emotional development of young women experiencing absent fat

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