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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

versão impressa ISSN 0102-311Xversão On-line ISSN 1678-4464

Resumo

BUSTAMANTE, Vânia. Paternal involvement in the care of small children: an ethnographic study of low-income families. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.21, n.6, pp.1865-1874. ISSN 0102-311X.  https://doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2005000600036.

The present study focused on father's involvement in the health care of small children (under six years) in low-income families. An ethnographic study was performed with interviews and participatory observation. We visited families in an outlying low-income urban neighborhood in Northeast Brazil, for nine months. Children appeared as a fundamental dimension in the lives of men and women, constituting a common reason for forming a family nucleus. The paternal role involved three key dimensions: education, in which the father was essential; body care, usually considered a female attribution; and preservation of integrity, considered an obligation for all family members. Despite the fact that traditional identification of gender roles still persists, based on contrasting discourses and practices, in all families (and especially in nuclear ones) there were dimensions in which men participated actively, demonstrating physical and emotional proximity with their children.

Palavras-chave : Paternity; Family; Infant Care.

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