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First-time fathers' experiences of parenting during the first year

Kowlessar, Omar, Fox, John R. and Wittkowski, Anja 2014. First-time fathers' experiences of parenting during the first year. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 33 (1) , pp. 4-14. 10.1080/02646838.2014.971404

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Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the experiences of fathers during their first year as parents to fully capture their experiences and transition to parenthood. Background: Becoming a parent for the first time has a life-changing impact for both the mother and the father, yet the factors implicated in the transition to fatherhood have been under-researched. Methods: In this qualitative study using an interpretative phenomenological approach (IPA), 10 first-time fathers were interviewed 7–12 months after the birth of their baby. Results: Two super-ordinate themes were uncovered: experiences during pregnancy and fatherhood – the early days, which are supported by six sub-ordinate themes. Fathers’ narratives can be understood within the theoretical framework of Draper’s Transition Theory; early fatherhood represents the continuation of a man’s transitory journey, which starts during pregnancy. Conclusion: Despite increasing public awareness and socio-political changes affecting paternal parenting culture, fathers still seem to feel undervalued and unsupported when it comes to antenatal support. The antenatal period is a critical time in which to engage with and support motivated expectant fathers; antenatal psycho-education classes can be adapted to accommodate the needs of men. The mental health of the man has an impact on the woman in the antenatal and post-natal periods; addressing the needs of men during pregnancy can function as an early intervention for his family system and could reduce the financial cost to health services in the long term.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles
ISSN: 0264-6838
Date of Acceptance: 28 May 2014
Last Modified: 08 May 2018 13:15

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