Exploring support systems of fathers of children with chronic medical conditions
Lewis, Kalli Jean
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A review of previous research reveals that parents of children with chronic medical conditions are usually represented by the mother or a combined parental report (Goble, 2004; Grootenhuis & Last, 1997). These research methods are based on outdated assumptions that fathers are less influential in children’s development than mothers (May, 1996). With a new understanding of the signficant roles that fathers have within the family, it is necessary to explore how fathers can be uniquely supported in parenting children with chronic medical conditions. This qualitative study used indepth interviews so fathers could define support using their own words. Five fathers of children with serious illnesses participated in a series of two interviews. Interview themes included: stress related to dissappointing expectations for fatherhood, support that assists fathers in managing stress, and barriers to receiving and requesting support. Participants also made recommendations for improvement of male support services.