Original Articles

Prevalence and Characteristics of Unresolved Paternal Identity in Families of a South African Community

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 21, issue 4, 2011 , pages: 589–593
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2011.10820503
Author(s): Mzikazi NdunaUniversity of the Witwatersrand,, Mambwe Kasese-HaraUniversity of the Witwatersrand,, Misheck NdebeleUniversity of the Witwatersrand,, Noleen PillayUniversity of the Witwatersrand,, Leseho Manala, South Africa


This study investigated the unresolved and unknown paternal identity among families in Alexandra Township in South Africa. Fifty-four guardians who had children registered at the Centre completed face-to-face, one-on-one structured interviews. We conducted descriptive and bivariate analyses. About 31.5% of the participants reported that they lived with a child who had unresolved paternal identity. A higher proportion of respondents who reported unresolved paternity received financial support outside the home (97% vs. 66%) also reported needing the Centre to provide them with psychosocial support. Social work and jurisprudence interventions maybe needed at local community level to help families establish paternity and to claim support from the putative father. Counselling services should be extended to help families and children adjust.

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