Empowering young fathers

Runtime: April 2021 – April 2023
Client: ZonMw

Project description

Unintended pregnancy, especially among adolescents, is associated with future vulnerable parenthood. To prevent vulnerable parenthood following an unintended pregnancy, it is essential to support young mothers and young fathers in embracing their roles as new parents. However, research has so far predominantly focused on the role of the mother. Little is known about the role of (young) men in the case of unintended pregnancies and how their role as (future) fathers can be strengthened. The aim of this project was, therefore, to gain more insight into how young men can be empowered in their role as young fathers.

The perspectives of young men - aged between 16 and 25 years old - who are or will become fathers following unintended pregnancies, along with their family members and involved healthcare providers, were explored through a transdisciplinary mixed-methods approach. The project's results include new insights into the (anticipated) roles of young men in fatherhood and their empowerment needs in the case of unintended pregnancies, as well as the role that social networks and healthcare providers can play in this context.

Societal engagement

Involvement stakeholder groups
Within the research project we set up and advisory board with several experts including a midwife, a youth worker, an NGO researcher, chairman of a fatherhood advocacy group and a director of a midwifery academy. These experts were involved during all our data collection, data analysis and result dissemination.

Media coverage

Cooperation with civil society
Participation in stakeholder group NGO Pharos on implementing more fatherhood supportive in national policy

Input on knowledge dossier on unintended pregnancies NGO Rutgers
Position paper on defining fathers as clients in birth care with several other researchers and civil society organizations

Set-up national fatherhood network
Co-organization of shared symposium Onbedoelde Zwangerschappen 26 september 2023 with researchers from the Kooz [Kwetsbaar Ouderschap en Onbedoelde Zwangerschap] learning community

Co-organization of workshops with and for researchers from the Kooz learning community on topics like accessible communication, cultural inclusion, lobby towards policy makers

Online learning module for all professionals in birth and young childcare and educational programs
The module consists of two information videos on the importance of father involvement and strategies to involve fathers. This module is developed with other researchers of Hogeschool Zuyd, LUMC, Amsterdam UMC and Erasmus UMC. In addition, we are in close contact with the midwifery academies in the Netherlands to study how the insights of fatherhood research can be implemented more extensively in current educational programs. This included sessions with the midwifery academies to further implement the attention of fatherhood in the educational programs and the development of an overview of all existing fatherhood literature and providing this overview to all relevant educational programs.


Project leader: dr. Femke Hilverda                     
Contact: hilverda@eshpm.eur.nl

Project members: prof. dr. Anna Nieboer, dr. Violet Petit-Steeghs, Justine van de Beek

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes