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Men found the early months of first time fatherhood challenging

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Question What are men's experiences of first time fatherhood during the 6 months immediately after the birth of their infant?


Longitudinal, naturalistic study.


Sydney, NSW, Australia.


15 men (approximate age range 24–37 y) who were experiencing fatherhood for the first time were recruited from preparenthood classes in a hospital. Men's occupations included factory supervisor, financial analyst, sales representative, nurses' aid, storeman, plumber, and psychologist.


Indepth, semistructured interviews were conducted for 1 hour on 4 occasions over approximately 6 months (just before the birth of the child until 5 or 6 mo after the birth). Interviews were done without the men's partners present. Data were sought on men's expectations, feelings, and experiences of fatherhood, and their contribution to decision making about child care. All interviews were audiotaped and fully transcribed. Discourse analysis was used to extract the men's beliefs and representations of their experiences.

Main findings

3 interrelated themes were identified. The first theme related to renegotiating …

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  • Source of funding: The Australian Research Council.

  • For correspondence: Professor L Barclay, Family Health Research Unit, L2, J Laws House, St George Hospital, Kogarah, NSW 2217, Australia. Fax +61 2 9 350 3976.