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Microcephaly and family dynamics: fathers’ perceptions of their children’s disability

Abstract:

The family is a key pillar in an individual’s psychological life, influencing behavior patterns, feelings of social belonging, and emotional health. The family structure can be shaken by the arrival of an infant with microcephaly associated with the Zika virus, defined in newborn boys as head circumference less than or equal to 31.9cm and in newborn girls as less than or equal to 31.5cm. The study analyzes the impact of an infant’s diagnosis of microcephaly on the paternal function. Interviews were held with five fathers of children with microcephaly from three communities in rural Paraíba State, Brazil. The instruments were a questionnaire and semi-structured interview that was taped and submitted to thematic and categorial analysis. All five fathers were participating in the routine care of their children, with this involvement “conditioned” by their work as well as by the disability’s severity. Some aspects were common to all five fathers, such as their reaction to the diagnosis and their concerns.

Keywords:
Family Relations; Fathers; Zika Virus; Microcephaly

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