Being a father in the military: an exploration of six Canadian veterans' subjective experiences.




Larsen, Sean

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This study used a qualitative approach to explore the experiences of six veterans, who were employed by the military and who were fathers at the time of their military employment. Semi-structured interviews with participants were used as the primary method of data collection. The researcher asked participants, “What do I need to know to understand what it is like to be a father in the military?” Additional probing questions were used to clarify and expand on the participants’ experiences of bonding emotionally with their children as a father in the military, as well the participants’ experiences of separating from their family and subsequently reuniting following military deployments and occupational travel. Using thematic analysis, the researcher constructed the following themes: (1) “You miss out” (2) “You feel like and outsider” (3) “You try to disconnect from family to deal with work” and (4) “The military comes first.” The current research adds to our understanding of the subjective experience of fatherhood in the military. The themes extracted will be helpful in delineating valuable counselling strategies for fathers in the military, as well as developing military policies and practice that support these fathers in their contribution to the healthy development of their children.



fathers, armed forces, military, deployment