White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

"Becoming" and "being" a father. An examination of the fathering experiences of Irish young men who were early school leavers.

Osborne, Martina M. (2020) "Becoming" and "being" a father. An examination of the fathering experiences of Irish young men who were early school leavers. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

EdD Thesis Martina Osborne 160620.pdf
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (3396Kb) | Preview


The research study examines the fathering experiences of Irish young men who were early school leavers. The study explores how their childhood – with and without their fathers – influenced their views, attitudes and aspirations, as they became fathers themselves. A multiple case study of six men, who had their first child when they were between the ages of 18 and 23 years old, presented data in a series of semi-structured, one-to-one interviews. Photographs and diagrams were used to encourage the narration of relational fathering experiences in their childhood and of the men’s subsequent position on becoming and being fathers to their children. The data was analysed using a structural and a thematic analysis approach. The findings indicate that the men were emotionally impacted by childhood fathering experiences, both negatively and positively, and these influenced how they subsequently aimed to be fathers to their children. On becoming a father, each man used his perceptions of his childhood experiences to inform him of the ways in which he understands what it takes to be a father and what it means to be a father. The study highlights that being a father is dependent on being close and connected to children. When barriers impede a connection, a perceived lack of felt love from a father impacts on children for a lifetime, causing mental distress as a child and as an adult. Relational disconnection from fathers negatively influences children’s development and was seen as a contributory factor in children’s engagement in, or absence from, education. Despite earlier disrupted education, the men valued further education opportunities which reinforced their intention to encourage their children’s future education prospects. The change in attitude to education was education itself. Building on the combination of Bowlby’s attachment theory (1980, 1973, 1969) and Bronfenbrenner’ ecological theory (1979), a hybrid conceptual theory of “closeness and connectedness” is suggested. The theory represents how children and fathers are individually impacted by sociocultural practices that affect their relational connection with one another. Being actively involved with their children creates positive opportunities for fathers to become “close and connected” to their children, a position which requires multi-tiered sociocultural support.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: Young fathers Early school leavers Closeness Connectedness
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.808706
Depositing User: Ms Martina M. Osborne
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2020 15:44
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/27186

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)