Single Divorced Fathers: Ecological Risk and Protective Factors

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Date
2012-09
Authors
Terakita, Christen
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Publisher
Mount Saint Vincent University
Abstract
This qualitative study was employed to gain a comprehensive understanding of the personal experiences of single fathers in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) as well as the personal perspectives of service providers who are part of services/programs targeted towards fathers. Narrative inquiry was used to understand the diverse and unique stories of five single father participants. General qualitative methods were used to understand the service needs and current availability of support for single father families in HRM. Approaching single fatherhood from an ecological resilience framework allowed for a holistic view of how single fatherhood was experienced by these individuals. Risk and protective factors existed at different, but related, levels that influenced how the fathers perceived their experiences and the support they received. Identified risk and protective factors ranged from: experiences with custody processes, gender of the children, positive feelings as a father, supports for fathers, navigating the legal system, perceived biases, and social stigmas. These results created a starting point for future, in-depth research into single father families that could be used to better support these important parents. Future directions for research with single fathers is explicated, such as examining the way services are advertised, administered, and perceived by single father participants. Furthermore, recommendations for service providers such as gender-neutral language of parenting programs and more diverse education are explained, as well as suggestions for future change to family law and court processes that allow a smoother transition for fathers in the legal system.
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Keywords
Halifax Regional Municipality , Single Fathers , Services , Programs , Nova Scotia
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