Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
In the following thesis I describe and analyze the experiences of stay-at-home fathers by focussing on understanding, analyzing, and changing the barriers that discourage fathers from choosing the role of primary caregiver of their children. In this study, 19 stay-at-home fathers in Ontario (defined as fathers who are or have been the primary caregivers of their children for over 30 hours a week for at least a year) shared their experiences and perspectives regarding their roles as full-time parents through a written survey. Three of these fathers also shared their experiences through qualitative interviews. I found that full-time fathers face unique barriers to choosing the role of full-time parent because of their gender. Two significant barriers, the structural and value-laden barriers of consumerism and the devaluation of parenting, discourage all parents in our consumeristic and career-focussed society from prioritizing parenting over career success and/or the accumulation of material goods but particularly discourage fathers. Fathers face additional barriers to full-time parenting in a patriarchal society that still pressures men to prioritize success in highly esteemed paid work while devaluing “traditional” women’s work of parenting and housekeeping. This is the first known study of stay-at-home fathers in Canada and despite the small sample size it contributes to the fields of community psychology, family studies, sociology, and gender studies by increasing awareness and understanding of this marginalized and often-overlooked population. The study’s qualitative methods and structural analysis of social values exemplify community psychology’s commitment to integrating values and research in an effort to undertake social action and effect positive social change. My intention is to motivate social action by prompting discussion and analysis of values places on parenting and consumerism.
Bailey-Dick, Nastinia (Nina), "From consumerism and stereotypes to pasta sauce: A study of the barriers facing stay-at-home fathers" (2002). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 720.