"She's my baby": How recently incarcerated fathers experience their relationship with their daughters

Holli M. Kelly-Trombley, Dianne Bartels, Elizabeth Wieling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The lived experience of recently incarcerated fathers and their perception of the impact of incarceration on their relationship with their daughters were explored in this phenomenological study. Thirteen fathers living in transitional housing following incarceration were interviewed about their relationship with their eldest daughter under the age of 18 years. The framework of the study was primarily guided by Moustakas's Phenomenological Transcendental approach to gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of fathers' experiences through their attitudes, recollections, feelings and perceptions regarding this relationship. Findings reflected fathers reevaluating relationships with women after the birth of their daughters, decision-making about whether to contact their daughters during incarceration and reentry, identifying as their daughters' protector, recognizing that their incarceration affected their daughters, and experiencing both optimism and apprehensiveness in reconnecting with their daughters during the reentry process. The study shows the need for more research and clinical practice on the special dynamics of father-daughter relationships when a man has been incarcerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-114
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Daughters
  • Fathers
  • Parental incarceration
  • Recidivism
  • Reentry


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