CHANGES IN PERCEPTION OF SELF AND SIGNIFICANT OTHERS IN EARLY FATHERHOOD
STEVENSON, RICHARD, JR.
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This study investigated the changes occurring in men as a process of becoming fathers, with particular emphasis on positive perceptual changes of self and significant others.;The literature on changes in men during early fatherhood was reviewed. This showed that past studies have had a distinct bias towards negative changes and that there was a paucity of empirical research in general.;An independent groups design was used with men from child-birth education classes. Men were first time fathers and were examined approximately 2 months pre-birth and 1 1/2 to 2 years post-birth. They responded to two major instruments, The Personal Orientation Inventory and a Semantic Differential, as well as responding to short answer questions and behavioral assessment scales. Ten men from the group of men with children were personally interviewed to elaborate on the process of change.;Results indicated that men in early fatherhood underwent changes which they experienced as positive in nature. There were indications of developmental growth as well as greater self valuation. There was no quantitative movement towards more positive feelings about significant others. In fact, indications were there was some degree of increased ambivalence and conflict with significant others. Personal interviews indicated an interaction between how established the marriage and career is and the amount of change occurring in early fatherhood: the less established, the more change. However, all the men reported change, predominantly in a positive direction.;In summary, men, in becoming fathers, can experience positive changes in themselves. Perceptual changes of significant others were to complex to show differences, although there were indications that those relationships became more salient during early fatherhood. The results were woven in with the literature, with particular emphasis on previously unsupported theoretical understandings. Further research is suggested.
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