Sharing the load: A qualitative exploration of what mothers and fathers believe the father's role should be in food provisioning

Lucie Burnod, Karen Patterson, Kacie Dickinson, John Coveney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The father's role in household responsibilities has shifted over the past fifty years. In particular, fathers are now expected to be more involved in the family food provisioning but are often still positioned in a role that is supplementary to the mother's role. Previous literature has explored contemporary perceptions of the father's role in this domain, however research on the expectations both parents have for the father's role is limited. This qualitative study therefore seeks to understand what mothers and fathers believe the father's role in family food provisioning should be or what they would like it to be. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the beliefs, expectations and lived experiences of heterosexual couples (N = 8) with at least one child aged between 5 and 12 years old. A thematic analysis informed by principles of constructivist grounded theory revealed that while the fathers placed importance on equally sharing the food provisioning role, a discrepancy is acknowledged between their attitudes and behaviours. The majority of the mothers desired a more equal share of the food provisioning role. However, such aspirations did not necessarily translate into real-world expectations of the father as they were deemed unlikely to be met. Parents recognised that the birth of children worked to increase the mother's load, and further reinforced the parent's roles moving forward. Constraints to change were heavily impacted by the socialisation of both gender and culture. The current study expands the existing literature by highlighting the need to focus on structural mechanisms that inform cultural and social change, in order to enable a more equal division of food provisioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106101
Number of pages9
JournalAppetite
Volume176
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

Keywords

  • Fathers
  • Food provisioning
  • Food tasks
  • Gender roles
  • Household responsibilities
  • Mothers
  • Parents

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