A qualitative study of the meaning of fatherhood among young urban fathers
OBJECTIVE: To explore the beliefs, attitudes, and needs young men have regarding their role as a father.
DESIGN AND SAMPLE: Exploratory, descriptive, qualitative design. Young fathers/young expectant fathers were recruited from service sites within a city in Massachusetts. Men were considered young fathers/young expectant fathers if they were or would be <20 years old at the birth of a first child or the mother of their baby was or would be><20 years old at the>baby's birth and the young man was <25 years>old.
MEASURES: Participants were interviewed utilizing open-ended>questions, which included the following: the characteristics of good fathers, goals/needs for self and child, and whether or not they planned to raise the child as their father raised them and why.
RESULTS: Responses regarding fathering clustered into the following themes: being available; providing support; and self-improvement, including completing education and becoming a positive role model. Forty-seven percent believed that being employed or finishing school would help them be better fathers; 77% reported they would not raise their child as their own father had raised them, citing physical and/or emotional abuse/abandonment.
CONCLUSIONS: Young men in this study identified several challenges to being "good" fathers. These included lack of employment, education, and positive role models.
Celeste A. Lemay, Suzanne B. Cashman, Dianne S. Elfenbein, and Marianne E. Felice. "A qualitative study of the meaning of fatherhood among young urban fathers" Public health nursing (Boston, Mass.) 27.3 (2010).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/celeste_lemay/6