An Ecological Approach to Understanding the Paternal Commitments of Young Fathers: From the Pregnancy Test to the Child’s First Birthday

Jean Martin Deslauriers, Mark S. Kiselica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Prior research on young adult fathers has included a limited number of ecological studies of this population. The purpose of the present study was to address this void in the literature by exploring the paternal commitments of adolescent and young adult fathers. We hypothesized that a qualitative study of young fathers would reveal a rich understanding of their perspectives and experiences during the prenatal period through the first year of the child’s life and the ecological issues that emerged during this period. We conducted initial interviews with 34 fathers ranging in age from 15 to 24 years old at the announcement of the pregnancy and again by the child’s first birthday. The results of a content analysis of the interviews are presented within an ecosystemic framework, which illustrates how numerous factors converge to influence a young father’s commitment to his child. Our findings indicate that, despite mixed reactions to the initial announcement of the pregnancy and numerous disadvantages in their lives, these young men generally showed a willingness to assume paternal responsibilities. The participants also revealed key issues associated with the mother of the child, living arrangements, the mother’s family, the labor market, and social and health services. Implications of these findings for effective outreach, services for young fathers, and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-268
Number of pages20
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences

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