US and UK literature suggests that young fathers consist of a homogeneous group of vulnerable youth. The socio-economic position and broader background of these fathers are often less favourable for providing a stable environment for their children. The Dutch context suggests that there are young fathers with planned pregnancies and favourable socio-economic characteristics too. Until now, it is not known which resources young Dutch fathers have had at their disposal. In this qualitative study, I investigated what kind of men become fathers at a relatively young age, what sort of socio-emotional resources they had at their disposal, and how they helped them throughout the transition to fatherhood. Data was obtained through ten in-depth interviews with young fathers. Results show, in line with US and UK literature, that in the Netherlands, there is a group of young fathers with unplanned pregnancies whose socio-economic characteristics and broader background are less favourable. In addition, two new groups of young fathers were identified: fathers with planned pregnancies with favourable socio-economic characteristics and fathers with unplanned pregnancies who succeeded in obtaining favourable socio-economic characteristics. Young fathers with favourable socio-economic characteristics were mainly receptive to instrumental support, and young fathers with less favourable socio-economic characteristics were mainly receptive to emotional support. Primarily, policymakers should promote help-seeking for support among primarily young fathers with unplanned pregnancies. For all different subgroups of young fathers, they should make support more accesible and adapt it to subgroup specific needs.

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Renske Keizer, Jennifer Holland
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

van der Meer, S. (2021, June 28). Young Dutch Fathers and their Resources. Sociology. Retrieved from