An exploration of fatherhood research and how it applies to ‘social mothers’

Supervisor: Dr Elaine Lee

The main focus of Dr Lee's research interests has been midwifery, specifically issues relating to lesbian mothers. Although this is quite a narrow research area, there is scope for further development. Lesbian mothers have been an exemplar for more general issues about marginalisation in maternity care. These issues could easily be widened out across health care. In relation to the School’s research programme of Personalising Care, this research sits comfortably within the Inequalities stream. Dr Lee is interested in the factors that. in effect, exclude individuals or groups from healthcare.  Below is one example from that could be developed. However, issues relating to women, maternal health and health inequalities would all be relevant to these research interests.

Project outline:

There is some emerging evidence that fathers have an important role in the health of women in pregnancy, in women’s decisions around choice of feeding method, and also in relation to the health and wellbeing of children in families. Support of fathers and fatherhood is an area being targeted in health and social care.

The question is, to what extent are the benefits of father involvement related to gender or to other factors such as support for the women. Can the work in relation to fatherhood be applied to social mothers in helping them support their partners and families or are there fundamental differences beyond genetics. This is an important issue of family health and health inequality as the social mother was shown in my research to be the most marginalised and ‘ignored’ individuals within the maternity care journey.

Note: There is no funding availabe for this project. It is only open to students who provide their own funding or who are applying through the Brazilian Science Without Borders Scheme.

Please see Admission page for elegibility.

Dr Elaine Lee