Transitions to fatherhood: a constructivist grounded theory study

HODGSON, Suzanne (2021). Transitions to fatherhood: a constructivist grounded theory study. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Fathers who are involved with their infants have the potential to make significant positive contributions to their children’s future health, wellbeing, and development. Transitions to fatherhood and the factors that shape those experiences, for some men, are poorly understood. There is a need for an improved awareness of the experiences of first-time fathers to inform policy and practice and improve support and outcomes for these men and their families. The primary aim of this work was to explore contemporary transitions to fatherhood. To this end, a constructivist grounded theory study (CGTM) was undertaken. Twelve new fathers were recruited in the North of England and data were gathered from semi-structured interviews where participants shared their experiences and perspectives of becoming fathers for the first time. Concepts relating to becoming and being fathers were explored in addition to fatherhood identity development. Following analysis of the data via processes fundamental to CGTM, the core category of reconciling father identities was constructed consisting of three theoretical categories: anticipating fatherhood, tensions in fathering and the fluidity of fathering. All participants had strong aspirations for involved fathering performances and took steps to prepare for their new roles. However, they faced various tensions in the workplace, in healthcare and in the normative, often traditional, expectations influenced by social and structural gendered norms. The father roles that they were ascribed by others frequently did not fit with their aspirations during pregnancy and the early months as fathers. They therefore found themselves working through periods of identity reconciliation which impacted upon their self-concept as fathers, their parenting confidence, and their parenting autonomy. Broader consideration of the needs of fathers is required across the arenas in which they perform fatherhood to support the development of positive father identities. This has the potential to benefit the wellbeing of the men themselves, their partners, and their infants. The implications for workplace, healthcare policy and practice are offered including suggestions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Kilby, Laura [0000-0002-9766-1985]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Laura Kilby
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2021 17:03
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:07

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