The Experiences of Low Income Non-Resident African-American Fathers with Parenting and Depressive Symptoms

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 4:20 PM

Omolara Fyle-Thorpe, BSN, MSN, RN, FNP-BC
School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO, USA


The experiences of low income non-resident African American fathers with parenting and depressive symptoms

Background/Significance and Purpose:

Low income, non-resident African American fathers are a vulnerable group of parents due to the many factors that affect their parenting and put them at risk for depressive symptoms. This population experiences many stressors related to poverty, limited resources, child support, discrimination, and poor social support. An expanded understanding of this population’s challenges and coping will allow health care providers to better care for these fathers and their families. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of low income non-resident African American fathers with regards to parenting and depressive symptoms.

Theoretical rationale:

Interpretive phenomenology or hermeneutics is the theoretical framework that will be used for this study. Interpretive phenomenology will provide an in depth understanding on how participants are situated in the world, their background meanings and practical understanding of the world which informs how they cope with stressors and barriers. 


Data was collected from fourteen low income non-resident African American fathers over a three month period. Fathers completed 3 interviews and 3 scales: The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale, the Gotland Scale for male depression and the Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire. Responses from the scales were used to expand and enrich the data by providing examples of symptoms of depression experienced by fathers. These responses added to the data by prompting discussions about childhood experiences and depressive symptoms. Interpretive analysis: Transcribed interviews and responses from scales were analyzed. Transcribed data was coded and emerging themes were grouped into categories to identify patterns, ascertain exemplars and paradigm cases.

Results and Conclusions:

Findings from this study expand our understanding of the supports and challenges faced by low income African American fathers who are non-resident. Variations in fathers’ coping with depressive symptoms and parenting practices are needed to provide clinical care. Findings also support the development of interventions and intervention studies to promote paternal and child wellbeing.