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

Andrea Davies, Susan Dobscha, Susi Geiger, Stephanie O'Donohoe, Lisa O'Malley, Andrea Prothero, Elin Brandi Sørensen, Thyra Uth Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article in journalResearchpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Consumer Research
Pages (from-to)254-260
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event36th Annual Conference of the Association for Consumer Research. ACR 2008 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 23 Oct 200826 Oct 2008
Conference number: 36


Conference36th Annual Conference of the Association for Consumer Research. ACR 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

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