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“What’s wrong with him then?” An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of becoming a stay-at-home father

Rowbottom, Simon (2010) “What’s wrong with him then?” An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of becoming a stay-at-home father. Oxford Brookes University.

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Abstract

Pleck (1983) offers a theoretical viewpoint of gender roles that defines the dominant theoretical ‘gender role identity paradigm’ as problematic. Pleck’s alternative paradigm states that both conformity and nonconformity to gender roles will lead to negative psychological consequences conceptualized as discrepancy strain and dysfunction strain. Six men who have become stay-at-home fathers and therefore undergone a radical change of gender role were asked to explore their experiences during semi-structured interviews. The resultant transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Jarman and Osborn, 1999). Dominant superordinate themes underpin their experience of gender role discrepancy strain, and are shown to be critical in the process of successful adaptation of the self structure under these conditions. These themes: socially induced strain from gender role discrepancy; direct familial validation of role change, and developing self through learned skills, are discussed with reference to Pleck’s paradigm and other pertinent self-processes outlined in the relevant literature. Implications for social policy are considered.

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