Social contact, efficacy and support amongst Australian fathers



Publication Details

Patulny, R. (2012). Social contact, efficacy and support amongst Australian fathers. Journal of Family Studies, Special Issue on fatherhood in Australia, 18 (2-3), 222-234.

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Journal of Family Studies


Recent findings that partnered and single fathers have less social contact than nearly all other types of men and women (Author 2011) suggest that fatherhood brings the risk of a loss in men's social networks. This in turn risks a significant reduction in social support, particularly amongst men who separate and lose the bonding social capital resources of their female partners (Emerick 2006). This paper examines social contact, efficacy and support amongst separated and partnered men and fathers using the 2006 ABS General Social Survey. Results show that fatherhood is not associated with any loss in social contact and support amongst married or defacto men.

However, amongst separated men, fatherhood is associated with greater social contact, but less social support and efficacy in decision-making related to family and friends. The paper concludes that separated fathers feel less supported and empowered than partnered fathers, partnered mothers, or separated mothers; that this is potentially detrimental to their wellbeing and mental health; and that social engagement policies for men (ie Men's sheds) should be expanded with a greater focus on recently separated fathers

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