Daughters' Retrospective Accounts of Paternal Invalidation In Childhood - Links to Connectedness and Disordered Eating in Emerging Adulthood
In terms of the influence parents have on their children’s development, there is extensive literature on the mother-child relation, but a need for more exploration of the father’s role. Previous research suggests that the experience of emotional invalidation in childhood is significantly associated with social-emotional outcomes and that the paternal response to his daughter’s emotions may be of particular relevance. The current studies addressed three questions: What is the relation between retrospective accounts of paternal invalidation of emotion in childhood and connectedness in interpersonal relationships? Is there a relation between accounts of invalidation and disordered eating habits? Do authenticity and shame mediate these relations? Participants were 276 young women volunteers ranging in age from 18-25 (M = 18.45), recruited through a first-year introductory psychology course. Each participant provided ratings of paternal invalidation of emotion, authenticity, shame, and interpersonal connectedness to mothers, fathers, siblings, parents, and friends for Study 1 and ratings of restrained and emotional eating for study 2. Both paternal validation and invalidation of emotion in childhood were significantly associated with connectedness in each assessed relationship. Further analyses showed that paternal validation associations were strongest for all types of family connectedness in comparison to friends. Authenticity, (i.e., self-alienation) mediated the relation between paternal invalidation and friend connectedness. Analyses in the second study revealed that shame mediated the relation between paternal validation and both restrained and emotional eating patterns. Authenticity mediated the relation between paternal validation and emotional eating. Overall, participants reported significantly more validation than invalidation by their fathers. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the importance of the father-daughter relationship and its relation to certain long-term developmental outcomes.