Fatherhood Experiences of Men With Inflammatory Arthritis: A Preliminary Grounded Theory

Michal Avrech-Bar, Thao T. Dao, Leah R. DeBlock Vlodarchyk, Catherine L. Backman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Minimal prior research has examined the impact of inflammatory arthritis (IA) on men’s perspectives on parenting. We aimed to describe fathering roles and experiences, the effect of IA on parenting activities, and strategies used by fathers with IA to fulfill this role. Methods: A grounded theory approach guided data gathering and analysis. Nine men with IA, parenting at least 1 child age <19 years, were recruited through rheumatology practices, therapy clinics, and social media. Each engaged in 1 in-depth personal interview. Transcripts were analyzed using inductive and iterative steps to identify key themes and a preliminary explanatory framework of fathering experiences of men with IA. Results: All men were married, ages 31–62 years, with 1 to 5 children ages 6 months to 28 years. “Being an involved father” describes participants’ perspectives on fulfilling their role as hands-on parents, role models, and financial providers. “Taking ownership” explains how participants managed daily life, comprising 2 subthemes, “taking care of yourself,” using strategies like exercise and communicating with loved ones, and “redefining yourself,” a process of adapting to reframed identity and lifestyle adjustments. “Accessing support” indicates men who felt well-supported by social networks (most critically their wives), health care providers, and informational and educational resources. Conclusion: This small, grounded theory study offers an enriched understanding of fatherhood experiences of men with IA. When social, practical, and educational supports are in place, these men found parenting joyful and rewarding. Despite task limitations, their perspectives on being involved fathers was unrestricted by arthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-892
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Issue number6
Early online date13 Mar 2020
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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