Original Research

Absent fathers’ socio-economic status and perceptions of fatherhood as related to developmental challenges faced by children in South Africa

Ishola A. Salami, Chinedu I.O. Okeke
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 8, No 1 | a522 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i1.522 | © 2018 Ishola A. Salami, Chinedu I.O. Okeke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 February 2017 | Published: 13 November 2018

About the author(s)

Ishola A. Salami, School of General and Continuing Education, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Chinedu I.O. Okeke, School of General and Continuing Education, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

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Background: There has been increased attention to the problem of fathers’ absenteeism and fathers’ participation in the socio-educational development of children among scholars in South Africa in the last decade. Studies have been carried out on extent, causes and possible interventions for fathering in the country. The majority of these studies have adopted a qualitative research approach, which has limited their ability to determine scientifically the cause–effect relationships that exist among several factors identified as the causes and the problems generated by fathers’ absenteeism, hence this study.

Aim: The aim is to determine which of the socio-economic factors as well as the fathers’ perception would significantly determine the challenges faced by the children.

Setting: The study was carried out in one of the universities that have Foundation Phase teacher education programmes in Eastern Cape Province.

Methods: Ex post facto research design was adopted to carry out this study. The sample of the study is 300 participants, out of which 43% are male and 57% are female participants; 78% of the teachers are black, 13% are white, 7% are mixed race and 2% are Indian.

Results: There is a significant composite contribution of socio-economic factors and fathers’ perception on developmental challenges faced by the children (F(6, 293) = 3.74; p < 0.05) among other findings.

Conclusion: Inculcation of fathering skills in secondary schools for boys and establishment of a government agency that will ensure equal opportunities for socio-economic status of South African fathers irrespective of their race were recommended.


Developmental challenges; absent fathers; perception of fatherhood; socio-economic factors


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