Active Husband Involvement During Pregnancy: A Grounded Theory

Brandon P. Eddy, Stephen T. Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this grounded theory qualitative study was to build a theory describing how husband involvement during pregnancy impacts the couple relationship. Background: The transition to parenthood presents a significant life change for couples. Although many couples experience this life cycle change, there is relatively little empirical research on how husbands can meaningfully contribute during pregnancy and how husband involvement influences the couple relationship postpartum. Method: Eleven heterosexual, married couples were interviewed regarding husband involvement during the couple's most recent pregnancy. Data collection included separate interviews with each partner and with each couple. Results: The results are presented in a grounded theory of active husband involvement during pregnancy and its influence on the couple relationship postpartum. Accounts from participants indicate that active husband involvement during pregnancy helps to strengthen the couple relationship postpartum. Active husband involvement consists of four interrelated ingredients: helping with a positive attitude, instrumental support, emotional support, and responding in significant moments. Couples described five distinct ways the couple relationship was enhanced by active husband involvement: increased trust, a more mature relationship, greater love, enhanced communication, and continued support. The theory also includes husbands' efforts to navigate various obstacles to active husband involvement. Conclusion: Active husband involvement during pregnancy consists of many behaviors and leads to strengthened couple relationships postpartum. Implications: This study highlights the need for a greater emphasis on the couple relationship during pregnancy and provides health care providers and researchers with information about how they can encourage active husband involvement during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Relations
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Couple relationship
  • husband involvement
  • pregnancy
  • transition to parenthood

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