Experiences of Single Fathers whose Children have Used Mental Health Services

Prof Doc Thesis

Williams, Laura 2015. Experiences of Single Fathers whose Children have Used Mental Health Services. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.4535
AuthorsWilliams, Laura
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Background: While much research has been conducted with single mothers, comparatively little has been undertaken with single-father families. Research done with this minority group has tended to focus on the ways in which this family structure is associated with disadvantage and poorer psychological outcomes for fathers and children, where gender tends to be discussed in individualistic or simplistic terms. Therefore, little is known about how these contexts affect single fathers’ day-to-day experiences and their experiences of parenting children who present with psychological distress. Method: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with eight men identifying as single fathers and parenting children accessing mental health services. Thematic analysis of the data was guided by Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six phase approach and was underpinned by a critical realist epistemology. Results: Five themes showed issues pertinent to this group as; a) negotiating gendered representations of single-fathering; b) feeling excluded by these and isolated and lonely in the context of finding it harder to socialise and form romantic relationships; c) feeling the ‘weight’ of responsibility for children and negotiating the role of the father in the context of single-parenthood and children’s distress; d) (struggling to) make meaning of and manage distress and not coping; and e) experiences with children’s services that prevent or enable access and the ways in which the power of professionals transcends this issue to define ‘good’ parenting. Conclusions: Findings are discussed with reference to the gender and parenting literature and their implications for future research and clinical practice.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.4535
Publication dates
PrintMay 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Oct 2015
Publisher's version
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