Session: Cultural and Contextual Influences on Fathering (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

213 Cultural and Contextual Influences on Fathering

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Continental Parlor 7, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Gender (G)
Symposium Organizer:
Kevin Shafer, PhD, Brigham Young University
Purpose A growing body of research shows that fathers positively affect families and children. For example, literature from social work and other social sciences shows that fathers are crucial for positive social, psychological, and cognitive outcomes in children of all ages. Given the positive impact of fathers on children, it is important to understand those factors that facilitate or limit paternal involvement. Unfortunately, few studies address the cultural and contextual factors that impact fathering. Yet, the person-in-environment model of social work clearly supports the need for research which addresses such questions. Further, understanding how context matters for parenting has clear implications for research, policy making, and social work practice with individuals and families.

Methods Two of the papers in this symposium address cultural influences on parenting, while the remaining two consider contextual factors. Quantitative and qualitative analyses are used to understand both cultural and contextual factors. The first paper collected data from an online sample of more than 300 Hispanic fathers in the United States to understand how Hispanic cultural constructs influence parenting styles within this population. The second paper used mixed methods to understand how father involvement influences the life experiences of Black females. The third paper used in-depth qualitative interviewing to better understand how fathers experience parenting, both individually and within a family system, with disabled children in Canada. The final paper used national data to consider how fathers' mental and physical health may influence a myriad of fathering behaviors.

Results The four papers consider important questions about fathers for social work researchers and practitioners. The first two papers show the significance of cultural competence when working with fathers. The first paper highlights how Hispanic cultural values impact the ways in which Hispanic fathers parent their children. The second paper illustrates that paternal presence and involvement may play a substantial protective role in the life prospects and outlook of Black females, who are at a substantial risk for negative life outcomes. The next two papers consider how health, both of children and fathers, influence parenting. Bogossian, et al.'s work reflects the struggles, role making, and fathering experiences of fathers when their children are disabled and unhealthy. The work by Shafer and colleagues, meanwhile, underscores the significance of paternal health for understanding how men parent their children. In total, all four papers address poorly understood and understudied factors that have a significant effect on how men parent and, in turn, how fathers influence their children.

Implications This symposium contributes to the growing fatherhood literature in social work. Collectively, they acknowledge the significance of father involvement and consider the predictors of and outcomes associated with father involvement, particularly in diverse and marginalized populations. Importantly, when woven together, the four papers provide practitioners with recommendations for working with fathers in clinical, community, social service, health care, and policy settings. As a result, these papers provide a foundation for additional research that moves the literature past descriptions of barriers to father involvement and toward the identification of empirically supported interventions with fathers.

* noted as presenting author
An Analysis of the Relationship between Cultural Values and Parenting Styles of Hispanic Fathers
Cristina Mogro-Wilson, PhD, University of Connecticut; Alberto Cifuentes, Jr., MSW, University of Connecticut
Connecting: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis of the Parenting Experiences of Fathers of Children with Neurodisabilities
Aline Bogossian, PhD, McGill University; Lucyna Lach, PhD, McGill University; David Nicholas, PhD, University of Calgary; Ted McNeill, PhD, University of Toronto
Combined Effects of Physical & Mental Health on Fathering Behavior
Kevin Shafer, PhD, Brigham Young University; Andrew Renick, MPA, Brigham Young University; Brian A. Droubay, MSW, University of Utah
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