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Minerva Pediatrica 2013 October;65(5):531-40


language: Italian

What new fathers know, think and do: a survey about fathering’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors in a sample of 570 men just after the birth of their newborn

Pellai A. 1, Festa F. 2, Cilento F. 3, Grossi L. 4, Grassino E. 5, Zaffaroni M. 5, Guidi C. 5, Bona G. 5, Bonomi A. 6, Visentin R. 7, Angellotti P. 7, Guala A. 7

1 Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica, Università di Milano, Milano, Italia; 2 Struttura Ospedaliera Complessa di Ostetricia, Ospedale SS Pietro e Paolo, Borgosesia, Vercelli, Italia; 3 Centro Studi e Ricerche di Psicologia della Comunicazione, Università Cattolica di Milano, Milano, Italia; 4 Struttura Ospedaliera Complessa di Pediatria, Ospedale Sant’Andrea, Vercelli, Italia; 5 Struttura Complessa a Direzione Universitaria di Pediatria, Ospedale Maggiore, Novara, Italia; 6 Struttura Ospedaliera Complessa di Pediatria, Ospedale Civile Ivrea, Ivrea, Italia; 7 Struttura Ospedaliera Complessa di Pediatria, Ospedale Castelli, Verbania, Italia


Aim: The aim of this paper was to know and analyze information, attitudes and behaviors related with transformations occurring in men when they become fathers.
Methods: A self-administered questionnaire has been given out to all men whose newborns were born in the Hospitals located into Borgosesia, Ivrea, Novara, Verbania and Vercelli (Piedmont region in north west of the Italy) in the last quarter of 2006. The questionnaire was created ad hoc and filled out on the day of discharge; results underwent statistical analyses through SPSS system.
Results: For the duration of the research, out of 870 men who became fathers in the hospitals were involved in this study, 570 responded voluntarily to the self-administerd questionnaire (65.6% of the total sample). They showed a lack of information about how to take care of their newborns and the emotional turmoil of women after delivery (58% think children are blind when they are born, 52% think it is better to breastfeed newborns at fixed times and 47% ignore that mothers can enter a depression state). Eighty-eight percent of respondents were in the delivery room to see their child’s birth, 56% took a leave from job to stay with mother and child in the hospital and 58% of them report the intention to take an additional 2-3 days leave after coming home from the hospital; 27% had trouble sleeping during pregnancy and are afraid not to be good fathers for their child; 90% believe that their newborn will make them change life habits. Most of the new fathers had difficulties in sharing emotions and feelings related with their status of fathers-to-be with other men. Some of these results are significantly different in older fathers, fathers having their first child and fathers with a lesser level of education.
Conclusion: During pregnancy and in the first months after their child is born, fathers-to-be and new fathers must be considered a potential target for educational interventions aiming at promoting their parenting information and reinforcing their positive attitudes and beliefs related with their fathering status.

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