Paternity: social responsibility of man's role as provider

Rev Saude Publica. 2009 Feb;43(1):85-90. doi: 10.1590/s0034-89102009000100011.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Objective: To analyze meanings attributed to paternity by men who are fathers.

Study design: Study with a qualitative approach and gender-theory focus, performed in the city of João Pessoa, Northeastern Brazil, in 2003. A total of ten men, whose children had been cared for in the pediatric outpatient clinic of a university hospital, participated in the study. Information analyzed was obtained with semi-structured interviews. Critical discourse analysis technique was employed to analyze participants' speech. DISCOURSE ANALYSIS: Participants in the study viewed paternity as a new social role, more closely associated with material support for the family than the dimension of affective involvement with the child. However, participants experienced a transition process where the traditional father lived with those whose affective dimension of paternity was found to be the main concern of being a father.

Conclusions: The meaning and concrete exercise of paternity were found in an area of responsibilities that predominantly reproduces the traditional father, but also recreates the father's role, including the affective dimension.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Father-Child Relations
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paternity*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Change
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Young Adult