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Keywords:

  • Fatherhood;
  • Functional status;
  • New father;
  • Transition

Objective: To investigate the functional status of new fathers.

Design: A descriptive, correlational study.

Setting: A variety of postnatal services within one regional center in New South Wales, Australia.

Participants: One hundred twenty-eight men who had fathered a healthy infant born at or near term, both first-time fathers and men adding to their existing families, who could read and write English.

Main Outcome Measure: Fathers were surveyed at 6 weeks postpartum using the Inventory of Functional Status–Fathers.

Results: Paternal age, number of children, and satisfaction with fatherhood were identified as correlates of functional status. An inverse relationship was noted between the number of children and satisfaction with fatherhood.

Conclusion: Although most fathers maintained their level of participation in household and family activities postpartum, few increased their involvement in response to the birth of their child. Practitioners should encourage expectant parents to actively negotiate the division of household labor and the sharing of infant and child care responsibilities before the birth of their newborn.