Experiences of middle-class fathers of children with autism spectrum disorders in the context of hegemonic masculinity: The case of Turkey


International Social Work, 2023 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/00208728231186522
  • Journal Name: International Social Work
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, CINAHL, HeinOnline-Law Journal Library, Index Islamicus, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Keywords: Fatherhood, fathers of children with autism, feminist social work, gender, hegemonic masculinity, Turkey
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study aims to reveal the paternal perception and experiences of middle-class fathers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the context of hegemonic masculinity and gender. The research design is based on a phenomenological approach with a qualitative research pattern; thus, the participants, comprising 18 fathers of children with ASD, were reached through the purposive sampling method. Analysis results pointed to the following themes: ‘Fathers’ feelings on the basis of masculinity’, ‘Imagined–actual fatherhood’, and ‘Work–family–life balance’. The findings indicated that fathers of children with ASD had their fatherhood patterns changed toward nurturant fatherhood. Being an educated and professional member of the middle class, being dual-earner parents, and having a child with autism are effective in this transformation. Suggestions are made as to social policy and feminist social work practices for the development of nurturant fatherhood and egalitarian gender relations.