Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Elizabeth A. Suter, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michele Hanna

Third Advisor

Mary Claire Morr-Serewicz

Fourth Advisor

Erin Willer


Father-son relationships, Masculinity, Narrative analysis, Perception, Sons' perspective, Symbolic interactionism


The current study qualitatively explored father-son relationships and the perceptions and performances of masculinity within that relationship from the perspective of sons. Through the utilization of symbolic interactionism and narrative as theoretical and conceptual frameworks narratives were collected as a means to make sense of participants' experiences and interactions with their fathers throughout their lives. Through a multi-phase analysis and utilizing Riessman's (2008) thematic narrative analysis as an ideological and practical basis, RQ1, which asked what themes underlie sons' narratives surrounding the performance and perceptions of masculinity within their father-son relationships, yielded the following three themes: (1) traditional masculinity; (2) responsibility; and (3) non-traditional masculinity. From RQ2 which asked what themes underlie sons' narratives surrounding the construction of sons' identities, roles and relationships within father-son relationships, the following three themes emerged: (1) perceptions of father(ing); (2) sons' perceptions of self; and (3) turning point perspectives. RQ3 which asked what themes underlie sons' narratives surrounding father-son contextual differences/similarities offer insight into both the performance and perception of masculinity and father-son relationships, resulted in four main themes: (1) history/family; (2) romantic/interpersonal relationships; (3) culture; and (4) sex and gender. Lastly, RQ4 which asked which themes stemming from sons' dialogue and performances within the context of interviews offer insight into their narratives surrounding father-son relationships and masculinity gained further comprehension in to specific thematic dialogic and performative instances within participant responses. From these results this study added insight and understanding conceptually, ideologically, theoretically, and methodologically into the areas of family communication, gender communication and masculinity studies. Finally, the current study contributes further pragmatic understanding for individuals inside and outside father-son relationships when negotiating identities, roles and relationships regarding masculinity.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Daniel Steven Strasser


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

259 p.


Communication, Gender studies