Stay-At-Home Dads: Symptom of Recession or Sustainable Trend?
Scott, Joy M.
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Giddens' Structuration Theory of "mutual dependence of structure and agency" (1979, p. 69) was used to explore the sustainability of the Stay-At-Home Dad (SAHD) trend in the U.S. Life history interviews of SAHDs were used to explore individual agency, and a survey of the general public (n = 608) was used to investigate cultural structure. Of primary concern was SAHDs ability to re-establish Subjective Well-Being, especially in the light of Social Identity Theory, Tokenism Theory and Social Justification Theory. The U.S. economy is an integral factor in pushing this trend. However, strong connections with their children are a robust compensation factor for SAHDs. Wives also play a key role in initiation and support. Survey responses also showed that women are more aware of, and approve more of SAHDs than men do. Seniors (age 56 to 93) had the least positive attitudes, while respondents in the age zone most likely to be parents according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics (age 30 to 55) had the most positive attitudes toward SAHDs. This showed a gemeinschaft--gesellschaft shift between age groups. Further, many couples are choosing childcare options pragmatically rather than concerning themselves with maintaining tradition. Mapping the trend through Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation showed that SAHDs are primarily innovators, yet there are some indications of the trend advancing to the early adopter stage.