Finding My Father

NEW YORK, NY – December 7, 2015 – Oxygen Media today released a national study inspired by Finding My Father,the network’s new series that follows young people searching for the fathers they have never known. Heading into the holidays when family is at the forefront, the survey, conducted by Research Now, examines the role dads play in the lives of millennial women. The study found that dads are an invaluable figure to young women and that a negative or absent relationship can have harmful effects. Specifically, 75 percent of young women said it is “very important” to have a close relationship with their father and 47 percent said their father is “the most important person in their life.”  In addition, those who grew up with a positive relationship with their father tend to say they are happier than those who grew up with a negative or non-existent relationship. Of the respondents without fathers, 50 percent said they felt a void by not knowing their father growing up and 50 percent said not having a father is partially responsible for their negative issues in life.  Further, a majority of young women who grew up without a father (63 percent) said his absence negatively affected their trust in others, while 61 percent said his absence negatively affected their romantic relationships.

Key Findings:

The Importance of Fathers

  • 75 percent of young women believe it is “very important” to have a close relationship with their father.
  • 47 percent say their father is “the most important person in their life.”

Communication & $upport

  • 32 percent of the young women surveyed communicate with their father every day, and nearly two thirds (66 percent) do so at least once a week.
  • It seems some of that communication may be about an adult allowance, as 72 percent of the women surveyed claim to have “received financial support from their dads in their adult years.”

Your Father & Your Love Life

  • There’s no denying it, fathers tend to influence a young woman’s love life.  While 36 percent say they “look for someone with similar qualities to my father when they date,” 65 percent of the married women surveyed said “my husband shares many positive qualities with my father.”
  • Having a negative relationship with their dad also shapes a young woman’s romantic future. 63 percent of respondents claiming negative relationships with their dads say they “tend to have trouble trusting men,” while 40 percent of those who grew up without a relationship with their biological fathers say they have “trouble forming stable romantic relationships.”

Impacts of Growing Up without their Biological Father

  • 50 percent of the respondents without dads say “they felt a void by not knowing their father growing up” with 50 percent claiming it is “partially responsible for my negative issues in life.”
  • About two thirds say it both “negatively affected their trust in others” (63 percent) and “their romantic relationships” (61 percent).
  • A silver lining may be the way the absence of a father strengthens the mother-daughter bond, with 78 percent saying the absence “made me rely more on my mother,” with 47 percent claiming “their mother” as the replacement father-figure in their lives. 

The Search and Reunion with an Absent Dad

  • 60 percent of respondents without a relationship with their father growing up “tried to make contact,” 77 percent of these “before the age of 18.”
  • Making contact seems to be a very achievable goal, as 90 percent of those who tried proved successful in their mission.

Motivations for a Reunion

  • The main motivation for reunions for the respondents with absent fathers was “to gain closure” and “have my questions answered” (both 64 percent).
  • 65 percent hoped a reunion would lead to “forming a relationship with him.”

How We Search

  • The most common way the respondents went about finding their father was simply “asking their mother” (58 percent), followed by “reaching out to other family members” (38 percent).
  • 21 percent of women “employed social media” to find their fathers.

The Fears of Reuniting

  • More than half (55 percent) say they saw “emotional pain” as a potential risk, while 49 percent feared they would be “disappointed in whom he was/what he had become,” and 48 percent “feared rejection.”
  • While 31 percent feared they might “emotionally hurt their mother by trying,” 57 percent claimed their “mother was supportive of my search.”
  • 78 percent of those who made contact with their father said their relationship with their mother “was not affected” by their search/reunion.

Silver Lining to Finding a Father

  • 37 percent of women say that finding their father “was one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” 40 percent say they “continued communicating” and a third (33 percent) now consider their once absent father “a part of their family.”
  • Over a third of women (36 percent) say they “discovered a new sibling” through the search.
  • Over half of women (55 percent) say that, despite the outcome, trying to find their father was still a positive experience.





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