Fathers’ perceptions of their role in family mealtimes: A grounded theory study

Elena Jansen*, Holly Harris, Tony Rossi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study examines how fathers negotiate the role of feeding with other family members, and how this both impacts and is shaped by the structure of mealtimes. Design: Six separate focus groups. Setting: South East Queensland, Australia. Participants: Fathers (N = 27) of children aged ≤12 years employed in blue-collar occupations or service industries. Phenomenon of Interest: Fathers’ perceptions of their role in family feeding. Analysis: Grounded theory. Results: Two major themes were identified: (1) mealtime structure, reflecting various arrangements and management procedures that give ultimate shape to mealtimes; and (2) division of labor, reflecting the work required to bring about such arrangements and how this work is allocated. These themes were interrelated and harmonized to create family mealtimes. Fathers felt that labor was assigned pragmatically; designated roles around feeding within the family facilitated structured mealtimes. Conclusions and Implications: Fathers’ roles in balancing the labor and structured mealtimes to feed the family require further research attention, particularly across different family structures, to enhance their engagement in and contribution to the family meal environment. Offering cooking programs and meal planning education to fathers may support them in their different roles and enhance efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We sincerely thank all our participants. The What Fathers Want study was funded through the Queensland University of Technology Pilot Grant Scheme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior


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