258204 How adolescent males perceive their new role as fathers: Exploring the Theory of Identity Achievement

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Herminia Taveras, PhD, MPH , Community Health Sciences- Maternal and Child Health Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Virginia Bishop, MD, MPH , Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Susan Scrimshaw, PhD , President, President's Office, The Sage Colleges, Troy, NY
Arden Handler, DrPH , Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Nadine Peacock, PhD , Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Diana Ingram, PhD, MPH , Office of Nursing Research and Scholarship, College of Nursing, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL
Teenage mothers identify their male partners as one of their primary sources of social support (Bishop-Townsend, 1997). However, young fathers may not be able to provide the types of support necessary for the healthy development of both the mother and child. To help transition male adolescents to effectively assume their new role as fathers, we examined their perception of this new role. The objective of this study was to determine the applicability of Marcia's Theory of Identity Achievement to evaluate the degree of assimilation to fatherhood among a group of low-income minority males.

Secondary analysis was conducted on 27 in-depth interview data from the DADSS study of young fathers living in the Chicago-land area. According to Marcia, identity achievement, moratorium, foreclosure and diffusion are identity statuses representing the “degrees” of coping with an identity crisis, in this case the new role of fatherhood. Interview transcriptions were coded and analyzed.

Most of the young fathers interviewed were engaged in a cycle of relationship violence they defined as non-abusive. Largely, they committed to their new role as fathers placing them as Identity Achievers. However, evidence of more identity statuses emerged. Overall, Marcia's Theory was applicable to this population and formed the basis of a new theory of role transition among adolescent fathers.

To ensure the best possible outcomes for mothers, children and families, we recommend adapting programs for young fathers based on their fatherhood identity status, with the potential to maximize the effectiveness of other maternal and child health intervention efforts.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the adolescent male’s perception of his new role as father. Identify potential predictors of commitment to fatherhood per fatherhood identity status. Assess a new theory of role transition among adolescent fathers.

Keywords: Partner Involvement, Teen Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the coinvestigator on the original DADSS study from which data collected was used for the analysis and the lead investigator for the content that will be presented. Among my scientific interest has been expanding the paradigm of intervention in Maternal and Child Health to examine strategies to help the male partner's health as well as strategies to better utilize the male partner to help improve the health outcome of the mother and child.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.