'You've got to keep your head on': A study of the stories young male service users tell about the transition to fatherhood

Reeves, Jane (2006). 'You've got to keep your head on': A study of the stories young male service users tell about the transition to fatherhood. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ea11

Abstract

Research on disadvantaged young fathers has been minimally addressed in the literature, particularly in the UK and especially with young men who are service users. This thesis, drawing on discourse theory, explores the descriptions of 16 white, socially excluded young men, aged 15-24, on the transition to fatherhood. The findings from the study, which uses a narrative methodological approach, indicate common themes from the stories of the young fathers, especially with regard to the high levels of disadvantage and social exclusion they had been exposed to, and the anti-social behaviour they described engaging in, prior to the birth of their child/ren. A significant proportion of young men, however, reported how important fatherhood had been in transforming their attitudes and behaviour and how they took their responsibilities as fathers seriously. In addition, the data details the social support systems which are described as being important to them (including some professional support) and the types of activities they describe engaging in as fathers. The study also argues for transparency in research processes with hard to reach young people and the importance of using a reflexive approach, particularly regarding the biographical and professional influences the researcher brings to the study.

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