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Paternity in Migratory Context: A Comparative Study of the Experience of Paternal Engagement and the Construction of the Paternal Identity of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants from the Maghreb

Christine Gervais, Francine De Montigny, Salima Azaroual, Anne Courtois

During the transitional period preceding parenthood, fathers have to face up to two main challenges: the development of their paternal identity, and their commitment to fatherhood. When it comes to immigrant fathers, there are added and specific, though still little known, challenges as regards the construction of their paternal identities. Objective: This comparison of the results of two qualitative studies is intended to describe the paternal commitment and the process of constructing a paternal identity, as experienced by fathers of North-African origin. Methodology: The data was gathered in the course of semistructured interviews with six first- generation North-African fathers, immigrants to Quebec, and six second-generation North-African fathers resident in Belgium. Results: The fathers from both groups are involved with their children and have in common factors that facilitate or obstruct the construction of their paternal identities. Recommendations are made with regard to clinical practice, training and research.