Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Katharine Hill

Abstract

Early parenthood is a topic of concern for social workers, researchers and policy makers due to the consequences for both young parents and their children. Despite declining rates of teen parenthood in the United States, teen birthrates remain high compared to other developed nations. Teen fathers have received less attention than teen mothers, but are an important component in the area of study. This study examines how five young fathers handled the transition from child to adult when faced with an off-time developmental event. Young fathers experienced drastically altered life paths, need for financial resources, complicated romantic relationships, and rapidly changing demands to fulfill new roles. They were motivated to grow into their new status by the support of others, including social services, and by a sense of duty to become good fathers. The fathers in this study are remarkably positive about their experiences, despite challenges, a range of situations with the mothers of their children. The findings of this study are limited by a non-representative population, non-probability sampling method and small sample size. Implications for social work practice, policy and research are outlined.

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