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Swedish child health nurses' views of early father involvement: a qualitative study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Pediatrics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Pediatrics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, Centre for Clinical Research, County of Västmanland.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Pediatrics.
2013 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 102, no 7, 755-761 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim To explore Swedish child health nurses' views on their role of involving fathers at the Child Health Centres (CHCs). Methods Interviews with 17 experienced Swedish Child Health nurses nurses were recorded, transcribed and analysed using systematic text condensation. Following the first analysis, the transtheoretical model of behavioural change was used to interpret the results. Results Four themes emerged during the analysis: (1) the nurses' own agenda; (2) nurses' opinion about the father's role; (3) nurses' gatekeeping; and (4) wanting more father involvement. Most nurses were in the precontemplation stage according to the transtheoretical model when they expressed their roles as nurses (Theme 1), how they perceived the father's role within the family (Theme 2) and how they actively encouraged mothers, but not fathers, to visit the CHCs (Theme 3/Mothers are our priority). Nurses in the contemplation stage started to consider involving fathers in the CHCs (Theme 3/The gate is closed...). Still others were in the preparation (Theme 4/Fathers are worthy of change) and action stages (Theme 4/Active in involving fathers), respectively. Conclusion Child Health nurses place more emphasis on engaging mothers than fathers in the services. To increase father involvement, nurses need support to become aware, initiate and maintain action.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 102, no 7, 755-761 p.
Keyword [en]
Attitudes, Child Health Center, Parents, Qualitative interview, Sweden
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-203517DOI: 10.1111/apa.12246ISI: 000319741800031PubMedID: 23551155OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-203517DiVA: diva2:637260
Available from: 2013-07-17 Created: 2013-07-15 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. An Unequal Chance to Parent: Examples on Support Fathers Receive from the Swedish Child Health Field
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Unequal Chance to Parent: Examples on Support Fathers Receive from the Swedish Child Health Field
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Father involvement benefits children, mothers, and themselves in a number of ways. Swedish legislation and Swedish society have promoted father involvement. At the same time, the Swedish child health field has also unequivocally states that both parents should feel welcomed and supported within that sphere. Despite these statements and policies, fathers feel neglected and invisible within and throughout the Swedish child health field, which includes prenatal clinics, birth and labor wards, postnatal clinics, child health centers, and parent support programs. Less is known however about the factors that influence father involvement in the child health centers, especially from the child health nurses’ perspective and the influence of the built environment. Additionally, parent support programs are another way through which parents receive support regarding their young child’s mental health, but very little research has focused on why fathers participate or the thoughts parents have regarding their participation, especially within a Swedish context.

The overall aim of this dissertation was to better understand some of the barriers fathers have when trying to participate in the female-dominated world of the Swedish child health field, especially during the child’s preschool years. In Study I, 17 child health nurses were interviewed regarding their thoughts on fathers, and in Study II, 31 child health centers’ built environments were assessed to see how inclusive they were of fathers. In Study III, a parent support program was assessed to see if mothers and fathers had different background characteristics for participating, and Study IV sought to understand the extent to which parents appreciated and used the information from the program.

These studies showed that child health nurses welcomed fathers, but did not actively invite them to participate. In addition, 75% of the child health centers did not have representations of fathers, but most child health centers had representations of mothers and/or children. Paternal behaviors positively changed if they were in an environment with either explicit paternal representations or only child representations. Mothers participated in the parent support program for several reasons, including if their child had perceived behavior problems, while fathers participated if they were stressed and perceived their child as having emotional problems. Parents believed the information they learned in the parent support program was valuable, and they continued using some strategies a year after the intervention.

Swedish family policies can affect parental involvement within the child health field, but the child health field is less inclusive of fathers than mothers, and it fails to meet the needs of fathers, which can then, in turn, negatively affect maternal, paternal, and child outcomes. Therefore, the Swedish child health field needs to continue working on improving their practices of treating both parents equally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 88 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1079
Keyword
Sweden, gender equality, father involvement, child health field, nurses, midwives, parental leave, family policy
National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-246565 (URN)978-91-554-9189-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-04-29, Universitetshuset sal IX, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-07 Created: 2015-03-09 Last updated: 2015-04-17

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Wells, Michael B.Varga, GabriellaKerstis, BirgittaSarkadi, Anna

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