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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The work-life balance of first-time fathers utilizing unpaid paternal leave
by Unick, Eugene B., Ph.D., Capella University, 2013, 149; 3557058
Abstract (Summary)

The role of fathers in the workplace and in the home has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. The typical American family has two full-time working parents in a household, rather than one full-time worker and one full-time stay-at-home parent. Additionally, the ways in which fathers are expected to contribute to a child's caretaking and development has changed dramatically during this timeframe. The benefits in the workplace for fathers in the United States have not changed to reflect these dynamics however. While equal pay, time off work and other benefits have been increasing for mothers in the workplace, there is a noticeable absence of paternity leave available for fathers in the United States. Moreover, fathers in the United States typically take less time off following the birth of their first-child than fathers in other countries, reducing the amount of bonding time available with their newborn child. Understanding how these experiences impact first-time fathers in the United States who were forced to take unpaid time off to bond with their child formed the research question and focus of this qualitative study: What is the lived experience of first-time fathers in the United States as they attempt to manage the work-life balance without government mandated paid paternal leave? Heuristic research methodology was utilized to discover the meaning and essence of the experiences of becoming a first-time father while managing their work and home life responsibilities while taking unpaid time off work. Eight first-time fathers who were forced to take this unpaid leave during the past five years were interviewed, gathering their experiences on managing their dual roles, finances and the transition to becoming a parent. The personal experience of the researcher is also included in this process. The aim of this qualitative study is to provide additional insight into the current body of knowledge and add to the experiences of becoming a first-time father for working fathers in the United States, where paid paternal leave is not a government sponsored benefit.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Secrest, Wayland
Commitee: Akiba, Daisuke, Boyer, Elizabeth
School: Capella University
Department: Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Attachment theory, Balance, Fathers, First-time, Paternal leave, Work-life
Publication Number: 3557058
ISBN: 978-1-267-99750-0
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