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The 'Intimate Father': Defining Paternal Involvement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
DatePublished - 2003


Fathering is alleged to have undergone dramatic changes in recent decades with proclamations of 'new fathering' dominating the literature. However, it is not always obvious what this new and 'involved' fathering entails. This paper aims to bring greater clarity to the nebulous concept of the involved father. While acknowledging the recession of traditional fatherhood centred on breadwinning, the argument looks beyond this oft-identified process. Instead the focus is on elucidating the elements viewed as the essential components of the father-child relationship. For the fathers in this study, the concept of intimacy seems to encapsulate ideas about good fathering. The idea of 'intimate fathering' encompasses, but goes beyond an emotional connection, and prioritises the quality of the parent-child relationship. This definition has implications for the analysis and understanding of fathering behaviour. In particular, such intimacy may be disassociated from a time commitment.

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Publisher: Sociological Research Online

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