A qualitative study of the meaning of fatherhood among young urban fathers

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; Data Collection; *Father-Child Relations; *Fathers; Female; *Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Humans; Male; Massachusetts; Pregnancy; *Pregnancy in Adolescence; Qualitative Research; Questionnaires; *Urban Population; Young Adult




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.

DOI of Published Version



Public Health Nurs. 2010 May-Jun;27(3):221-31. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Public health nursing (Boston, Mass.)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID