Engaging, Understanding, and Supporting Teen Fathers

  • Author / Creator
    Sopcak, Nicolette
  • The purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to the sparse body of knowledge on teen fatherhood and to bridge the gap between research on teen fatherhood and the implementation of formal support for young fathers. Three papers identify and discuss three different aspects of teen fatherhood that are important to consider when addressing the disparity between existing research and inadequate formal support. The first paper, “Engaging Young Fathers in Research through Photo-Interviewing” contributes to research in the field by presenting photo-interviewing as alternative to conventional face-to-face interviews with young fathers. The paper reports on possible advantages of using photo-interviewing with a group of young fathers: Photo-interviewing may be less threatening to participants, adds a new (visual) dimension to the data, and can be empowering to participants. However, further research and the development of innovative approaches are needed to more successfully engage young fathers in research. The second paper, “Teen Fatherhood against the Odds: Finding Meaning and Purpose through Fatherhood,” reports young fathers’ perspectives on their experiences of being a father. The findings of this paper suggest that the transition to fatherhood is a window of opportunity for fathers to turn their lives around, despite past and present adversities. Moreover, the purpose and meaning of fathering a child was found to be central to the young fathers’ identities in this study. This paper contributes to the small, emerging body of knowledge that conceptualizes fatherhood as potentially beneficial to young fathers. The third paper, “Features of Successful Programming for Young Fathers,” identifies three factors essential for agencies to successfully support young fathers, a vulnerable group that is often overlooked by support agencies. Valuing and welcoming fathers, adopting a male perspective, and providing a safe haven and a secure base were the pivotal elements to connecting with and providing meaningful support to young fathers. These identified factors may assist agencies to implement and improve services for young fathers. This dissertation identifies problematic areas in research and practice on teen fatherhood and offers some direction in how to engage with, learn more about, and successfully support young fathers.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Devault, Annie (Département de Travail Social)
    • Mayan, Maria (Faculty of Extension)
    • Dashora, Pushpanjali (Human Ecology)
    • Kushner, Kaysi Eastlick (Faculty of Nursing)