The Involved Ostrich: Mothers' Perceptions of Fathers' Participation in the Transition to Parenthood

The VOICE Group,
Andrea Davies, University of Leicester, UK
Susan Dobscha, Bentley College, USA
Susi Geiger, Stephanie O'Donohoe, Lisa O'Malley, Andrea Prothero, Elin Brandi Sorensen, Thyra Uth Thomsen, University College Dublin, Ireland; University of Edinburgh, UK; University of Limerick, Ireland; University College Dublin, Ireland; University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
This study focuses on mothers’ perceptions of fathers’ attitudes toward consumption decisions related to the introduction of the first child in the family. Two interviews were conducted with each respondent, pre- and post-natal, using the long interview method; in this paper we focus on pre-natal data. Data revealed that men, according to their partner’s perceptions, used consumption as a virtual umbilical cord, although levels of consumption involvement varied from co-involvement for most purchases, to limited involvement, and/or involvement for ‘large’ items, particularly travel systems and technical items. This research also revealed that men partook in highly masculinized forms of “nesting,” and in general shunned pregnancy book reading; although some did engage in “research” activities such as searching the internet for product safety information. We conclude from this study that the transition into parenthood can be difficult for men due to their lack of a physical connection to the pregnancy, a perception that the baby industry is not designed for them, the continuance of male stereotypes in the media, and also the time available to men to become involved in consumption activities immediately prior to a baby’s birth.
[ to cite ]:
The VOICE Group, Andrea Davies, Susan Dobscha, and Susi Geiger, Stephanie O'Donohoe, Lisa O'Malley, Andrea Prothero, Elin Brandi Sorensen, Thyra Uth Thomsen (2009) ,"The Involved Ostrich: Mothers' Perceptions of Fathers' Participation in the Transition to Parenthood", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 254-260.