Moral orientations to post-divorce fatherhood: Examining Finnish men's descriptive practices

Hannele Forsberg, Leena Autonen-Vaaraniemi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    This article examines the moral orientations of Finnish fathers in childcare decisions described some years after divorce. The focus is on the fathers’ care-based moral orientations, specifically on their responsibilities in relationships. While care is often considered natural for women, the men in this study also describe their responsibilities for their children as natural. Compensating for their guilt over the alleged negative consequences of divorce for their children, together with being in the children's everyday lives, forms the central dimensions of the men's moral orientations. A minority of the men frames their divorce-related relationships within a rights-based moral orientation, either fighting against the unquestioned supremacy of motherhood, or prioritising their own need for independence. In addition, ageing fathers living alone stress their right to expect care and companionship from their adult children. The article argues for a practice-oriented, gender-sensitive and longitudinal approach to the study of ‘proper parenthood’ after divorce.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23–36
    Issue number1
    Early online date24 Apr 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • care
    • divorce
    • fathers
    • gender
    • moral orientation

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1


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