There is little research about the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men supporting their partners through pregnancy and as they become new fathers. Health services often target ‘mums and bubs,’ sometimes at the exclusion of men. This project aims to:
- explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s experiences, dreams, aspirations, needs and challenges during their partner’s pregnancy to 6 months post-natal
- identify their social, cultural and psychological +strengths as a partner expecting a baby and as a father.
This research project sits within the framework of the IBUS Study, a longitudinal cohort study with four core partners: The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS), Mater Health Service and the University of Queensland (UQ). The IBUS study employs an overarching Participatory Action Research (PAR) Framework that enables responsive, proactive action in relation to findings.
The methodology will employ in-depth, semi-structured and focus group interviews with a sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men whose partners are pregnant or have recently given birth. Interviews will chronicle men’s experiences during their partner’s pregnancy through to the 6-month post-natal period, including their parenting experiences, role in their partner’s pregnancy and antenatal care, their preparation for parenting and their dreams, aspirations, needs and challenges associated with becoming a new father. The social, cultural and psychological strengths that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men exhibit in their roles as a father and a partner will be identified from their accounts of everyday experiences.
This work will contribute to the development of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research workforce in two key ways. Firstly, Dr Yvette Roe, an early career Aboriginal researcher, will take full responsibility under Prof Sue Kildea’s mentorship for leading, conducting, reporting and acquitting the whole project. Secondly, Mr Ike Fisher, an Aboriginal community researcher for IUIH health services, will conduct qualitative interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and be mentored to develop skills in qualitative data analysis and writing for publication.
This research will foster greater understanding of the experience, dreams, aspirations, needs and challenges of young men as they enter fatherhood and an understanding of what is important to young men in an urban setting and how best to support them to reach their potential as a new father. Findings will be fed back to our Steering Committee, community and into our work around: ‘Preparation for Parenting as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Mum and Dad’ Program, which we are aiming to develop under our Strengthening Families Program of work.