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Mariam I. Tazi-Preve, Markus Kaindl and Benedikt Krenn (2008)

Fathers without Children – Characteristics of Divorced Fathers without Contact to Their Children*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 33, 1/2008, p. 5-36, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398, DOI: 10.1007/s12523-008-0003-0

This article deals with the impact of separation and divorce on the relationships between fathers and their minorage children who are separated from them. In contradistinction to many other surveys, this study undertaken by the University of Vienna focused on the consequences of divorce not for the children, but for their fathers. The research question aims to study the characteristics of those fathers who lose contact with their children after a divorce. What is more, an attempt is made to quantify the number of fathers concerned for Austria. The starting point of the study is formed by an outline of the state of international research since the eighties. A special programme of the Austrian Microcensus from 2001 was evaluated as a databasis. The results show that the phenomenon can only be covered in figures to a limited degree. The spatial distance between fathers and their children, and the time which has passed since separation, were identified as major obstacles for maintaining strong contact. With an univariate view, the age of the children on divorce also influences the risk of breaking off contact. Fathers who live alone are more likely to maintain contact than those who live in two-person households. The extent of contact with one’s own father and with siblings positively influences the maintenance of contact with children. Over and above this, social status is important. If fathers have greater educational resources and higher status in professional life, contact is less likely to be broken off. This picture however changes in the multiple approach. In this view, the only signifi cant influences remaining as to the complete break off of contact in Austria are the time which has passed since the divorce and the distance to the children. Further studies are needed in order to conclusively explain the causality of the phenomenon of breaking off contact in a father-child relationship.

* peer-reviewed article (original German title: Väter ohne Kinder – Charakteristika von Scheidungsvätern ohne Kontakt zu ihren Kindern)

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