Abstract: Fathers in Focus: A Narrative Analysis of Immigrant Fathers through Photovoice (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Fathers in Focus: A Narrative Analysis of Immigrant Fathers through Photovoice

Friday, January 13, 2023
Laveen B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Liza Lorenzetti, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Calgary, AB, Canada
Rita Dhungel, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, MacEwan Univesity, Calgary, AB, Canada
Aamir Jamal, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Nellie Alcaraz, MSW, Research Assistant, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Benedicta Asante, BSW, Research Assistant, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Lamothe-Gascon Marie-eve, BSW, Research Assistant, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Background/Purpose: There is an increasing body of evidence that associates domestic violence with adverse and intersectional impacts of sexism, colonization, racism, migration, and class, among other forms of structural inequality. Improving men’s wellbeing and creating spaces for men to pursue healthy relationships, reduce social isolation and gain access to appropriate resources are part of a primary prevention approach to address negative social and gender beliefs. In Canada, racialized men face complex challenges in accessing support and services for their wellbeing. Nurturing father involvement has been associated with positive early child development outcomes and improvement of family relationships. However, this is often impeded by traditional gender roles which limit men’s involvement in care-giving, and can also lead to violence and abuse. Despite the wealth of study on gender-based violence, there is little information on the transformational journeys of immigrant fathers breaking intergenerational violence. The purpose of this study was to explore the connection between nurturing fatherhood practices, men's well-being, and healthy non-violent family relationships experienced through positive father involvement.

Methods: Narrative Inquiry and photovoice method was used to investigate the transformative experiences of men in fatherhood roles. A purposive sampling strategy was used to recruit 20 men, 14 of whom completed the entire project. Participants were invited to watch a video introducing the study, its benefits, and explaining the photovoice method. Participants submitted 2 to 3 photos and associated narratives responding to the following research questions: (1) What does being a dad mean to you? (2) Does being a father change your view of being a man? (3) What in your life past or present helped and/or challenged you in being a dad? Participants from Filipino, Nepali, Nigerian, and Pakistani communities were then invited to join two focus groups to share their photos and narratives. Online and in-person photo exhibitions were held as knowledge mobilization activities.

Results: Findings highlighted immigrant fathers’ journeys and their quests to develop healthy and nurturing relationships with their children. Culture, migration stories, struggle, and achieving goals for the advancement of the family were the core themes. This study also brought forward diverse interpretations and meanings of being a father and a man, with a particular focus on the intersectional barriers, strengths and resilience of immigrant and racialized fathers.

Implications: The photos and narratives were shared through both online and in-person art exhibits entitled: Fathers in Focus: Stories from Immigrant Dads that engaged dads and diverse community members in conversations and actions that explore men’s experiences and thoughts on what it means to be a father and foster nurturing fatherhood. Program creations and policy changes supporting healthy masculinities and strengthening family relationships are being proposed to promote nurturing fatherhood journeys for immigrant fathers. A model of practice for working with men towards gender equity was produced and shared with stakeholders using anti-colonial and anti-racist frameworks. A recommendations report will be produced for policymakers and agency leaders that focuses on well-being, healthy relationships, and violence prevention.