Date of Award

Spring 5-21-1999

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Curt Paulsen

Second Advisor

Laura Boisen

Third Advisor

Mark Smith


Although identity theory, out of symbolic interactionism, has been suggested to be the most useful framework for understanding the changing roles of fathers, little systematic research has been done to apply this framework to fathering roles, and especially the specific roles of provider and nurturer. In this study, seven fathers, four in economically traditional families and three in economically non-traditional families, were interviewed using a structured interview schedule. This interview focused on the saliency of the roles of provider and nurturer for fathers and the strain in fulfilling aspects of both as predicted by identity theory. The content analysis revealed how fathers are experiencing role conflict and how this conflict varies for economically traditional and nontraditional fathers. Implications for social workers as they strive to understand and serve fathers and their families are discussed. As this study is exploratory, future research could extend an identity theory understanding of fatherhood.


SC 11.MSW.1999.Hacker.MR

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