ERIC Number: ED416034
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Nov
Faithful Fathering in Trying Times: Religious Beliefs and Practices of Latter-Day Saint Fathers of Children with Special Needs.
Dollahite, David C.; Marks, Loren D.; Olson, Michael M.
There has been relatively little social science research on the influence of religious beliefs and practices on fathering. This study examined narrative accounts obtained through in-depth interviews from 16 Mormon fathers of children with special needs in the context of Mormon religious belief and practice, research on stress and special needs families, and ideas from the generative fathering perspective. The special needs of the children ranged from serious physical disabilities and intellectual and emotional limitations to life-threatening chronic illness. Atheoretical coding of the narratives revealed six themes. The first three, not explicitly religious in nature, were: (1) choosing to care; (2) dealing with today's challenges; and (3) building love through play. The second three themes were explicitly religious: (4) having faith in God's purposes; (5) giving priesthood blessings; and (6) accepting help from the church. The fathers in this sample provided a clear contrast to the prevalent image of special needs fathers as being beset by despair and likely to abandon their families. They seemed to father in a way consistent with the generative perspective, focusing on their child's, rather than their own, needs. Religion was an important resource for them, and influenced their coping, perspective of their experience, their parenting, and how they told their story. (Contains 73 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A