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The Absent Father's Children's Emotional Disturbances

Thomas L. Trunnell, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(2):180-188. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740080052009.
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CHILDREN whose emotional problems were partially related to transient absence of their fathers on navy duty were studied clinically (Trunnell, T., The Absent Naval Father: His Children's Emotional Disturbances, unpublished data). This clinical material vis a vis the effects of the transient paternal absence was rich and complex. This clinical material contained certain apparently recurrent threads. These suggested patterns, and empirical formulations based on this military experience were made in an effort to focus more clearly on the significance of paternal absence. These tentative formulations were more rigorously accessed in a civilian population in this present study.

These empirical formulations are examined utilizing the structure of three sets of hypotheses. 1. Paternal absence apparently has a significant albeit ill-defined effect on normal child development. It seems to correlate somewhat with the form and severity of psychopathology when and where manifested


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