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The transition to fatherhood: the role of formal and informal support structures during the post-partum period


The transition to fatherhood is a period in an individual’s life that calls upon his/her adaptive capacities.The quality of social support available to parents is an important factor in their adjustment to their new role. The purpose of this correlative study among 160 first-time fathers and 160 first-time mothers in Quebec, Canada was to determine which sources of support are most valued by mothers and fathers during the post-partum period, the characteristics of this support and to examine the nature of the relationships between perceptions of social support, parenting efficacy and parental anxiety. Multivariate analyses revealed that, for these parents, social support did not act as a protective factor for perceived parenting efficacy. However, nurses’ care-giving practices contributed to parents’ perceptions of support and to their perceptions of parenting efficacy.