- The purpose of this descriptive research was twofold: 1) to
determine the expressed concerns, feelings, and needs of a selected
group of expectant fathers; and 2) to categorize those expressed
concerns, feelings, and needs into broad areas and to develop a
priority listing of those items as a basis for developing, implementing,
and evaluating methods designed for meeting them.
Existing literature and taped discussions with expectant fathers
were used as the basis for the development of a 54 item questionnaire.
Following a pretest and revision of the questionnaire it was administered
to 15 expectant fathers attending expectant parent classes in
Benton County, Oregon. As a basis for analysis, the 54 items of
the questionnaire were categorized into six broad areas a follows:
expectant fatherhood; wife during pregnancy; husband-wife relationship
during pregnancy; fatherhood; unborn child; and the husband-physician
relationship during pregnancy. Each of these areas contained a
variety of items relating to the concerns, feelings, and needs of
prospective fathers. Results were tabulated, a weighted percentage
was calculated for each item, and a priority listing was made of the
concerns, feelings, and needs within each of the six broad areas.
Expectant fathers did express and were able to identify their
feelings, concerns, and needs. From the priorities established it
appeared that some areas were of more concern to fathers than
others. The most important areas included, expectant fatherhood,
the wife in the pregnancy state, and the husband-wife relationship
during the pregnancy period.
Fathers expressed a wide variation in the degree to which
those feelings, concerns, and needs were felt. The greatest concern
of expectant fathers involved the health of the unborn baby, the concern
that this baby would change their lives, and the concern that
they were not doing the right things for their wives.
The feelings of most importance included: the feelings of
excitement and happiness about the coming child; their feelings of
importance, involvement, and enjoyment; and their feelings that it
was their job to support and reassure their wives.
Needs identified as important included: the need of the fathers
to be with their wives throughout labor and during delivery; the need
to understand what was happening to their wives both physically and emotionally; the need to be involved in this pregnancy from the
beginning; and the need to know and understand more about becoming
This study was designed to establish a baseline of data regarding
the concerns, feelings and needs of expectant fathers. It is
hoped that further, in depth research will be an outgrowth of this