An exploration of father role-related identity: A study of fathers’ sense of self
Dickson, Cody W.
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This qualitative study explores fathers’ role-related identity development. The project utilized Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory of lifespan human development and adult role-related identity theory to determine how men define themselves within the fatherhood role and how fatherhood impacts their overall sense of self. Additionally, this study addressed the lack of research into men’s identity development within the fatherhood role. Twelve self-identified fathers ranging in age from 35 to 72 years-old completed a semi-structured interview. Content analysis using a constant comparative technique was used to analyze interview transcripts. Themes that emerged included: 1) Being there – the development of a close personal relationship; 2) A balancing act – finding the time to father; and 3) A growth process – the impact of children on father’s adult identity development. The first two themes were consistent with the findings of previous studies and added depth and breadth to research addressing men’s lived experiences as fathers. The third theme demonstrated that fatherhood significantly impacts a father’s sense of self and overall adult identity development.