Study finds sports play a significant role in father-daughter bonding

There is no question that a divorce can prove to be an incredibly difficult time for every single member of a family. However, the impact of the marital split can be particularly profound for a husband/father, who may find himself moving into new surroundings, dealing with new budgetary restrictions and, most significantly, adjusting to child custody/visitation arrangements.

Yet another unfortunate reality of post-divorce life for fathers is that they may face a rather difficult road with their children who may choose to blame them for the end of the marriage.

Fortunately, there are steps that fathers can take to begin to re-forge emotional bonds with their children in the new post-divorce reality.

Consider a recent study by researchers at Baylor University here in Texas examining activities that can help strengthen father-daughter bonding. While the study didn’t focus exclusively on divorce, it nevertheless provides an invaluable blueprint for building strong relationships.

The study, published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Human Communication, asked 43 fathers between the ages of 45 and 70, and 43 daughters at least 22 years of age to identify the activities that served as a turning point in their relationship.

The overwhelming majority of study participants, none of whom were related, identified playing sports together as an activity that helped strengthen bonds considerably.

The surveyed daughters indicated that playing sports with their fathers enabled them to not only learn valuable lessons about competition and bravery, but also to spend more quality time together. Similarly, the surveyed fathers indicated that playing sports together — everything from playing catch to coaching a team — created a unique bond and helped foster more open communication.

Interestingly, the study also identified other activities that helped bring fathers and daughters closer together, including household projects, church functions and driving lessons.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody, visitation or parental rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:, “Playing sports helps fathers bond with daughters: study,” Feb. 21, 2013