Father-child attachment in Black families: risk and protective processes

Fanita A. Tyrell, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Theoretical and empirical work on Black fathering has been grounded in a deficit perspective. Scholarship has focused on absenteeism and incarceration of Black fathers, neglecting their positive roles as well as the structural inequalities and challenges Black fathers face. This paper highlights the significance of positive fathering in Black youth development, with a focus on the protective influences of attachment relationships. Structural and proximal processes that may support or undermine this relationship are delineated, as well as how theory and methods on attachment can be extended to support research on Black families and youth development. Culturally and contextually grounded research on Black fathering may lead to refinement in theory and measurement of attachment. Advancing research on father-child relationships in Black families requires greater attention to processes that promote positive fathering and strengthen father-child attachment bonds, particularly in the context of structural racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-286
Number of pages13
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number3
Early online dateSep 9 2021
StatePublished - Sep 9 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Black fathers
  • attachment
  • culture
  • parenting
  • resilience


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