Research Clusters

Immigrant Fathers

Led by Dr. David Este, Social Work, University of Calgary, Calgary, with links to Toronto and Montreal

Focus: The challenges faced by immigrant fathers in Canada.

Published Articles Based on This Project

Este, D. C., & Tachble, A. A. (2009). The perceptions and experiences of Russian immigrant and Sudanese refugee men as fathers in an urban center in Canada. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 624(1), 139-155.

Este, D. C., & Tachble, A. (2009). Fatherhood in the Canadian context: Perceptions and experiences of Sudanese refugee men. Sex Roles, 60(7-8), 456-466.

Este, D. (2013). Social Support in the Lives of Sudanese Refugee and Russian Immigrant Fathers in Canada. In Gender Roles in Immigrant Families (pp. 63-77).  S.S. Chuang & C. S. Tamis-LeMonda eds. Springer, New York.


Project Description

The experience of being an immigrant or refugee may have a significant impact on the fathering role. This study's purpose is to identify key acculturation challenges for immigrant/refugee fathers, to collaboratively develop a best practices program of service for immigrant men, and to generate an inventory of programs and services that address the needs of immigrant men in Canada.

Immigrant fathers are dealing with multiple and often inter-related stressors such as: unemployment and underemployment, social isolation, barriers to accessing services, role reversal (when their partners are the first to find employment), and trauma induced by war or enforced refugee status.

In addition these men may have strong beliefs, values, and traditions about the nature of the family and father-child relationships that may or may not be supported in Canada.

The study utilized Patton's pragmatic qualitative research design, which allows the researcher to conduct his/her research study without the need to choose a specific qualitative tradition. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 Sudanese and 14 Russian newcomer men. Focus groups will be conducted in Calgary, Montreal and Toronto with groups of immigrant fathers recruited with the help of local immigrant serving agencies.

Initially, five Calgary-based agency groups met to identify research strategies. This was complemented by a meeting among six programs offering services to immigrant fathers in Toronto. Gilles Forget, with Public Health in Montreal, made linkages for expanding the research to the Montreal area. The Calgary Immigrant Aid Society, Calgary Jewish Family Services, and The New Sudan Association of Alberta provided assistance in identifying and recruiting Calgary participants for the interviews. Dr. Este supervised students.

Executive Summary (Father Involvement Community Research Forum Spring 2006 - Early Results)
Authored by David Este. A summary of research into stress factors relating to parenting by immigrant fathers. Stress factors for immigrant fathers include underemployment or unemployment, social isolation, barriers to helping services, role reversal, and trauma induced by war or enforced refugee status 

Related Publications

Fatherhood and Immigration: Challenging the Deficit Theory (Child and Family Social Work, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp. 315-239)
Authored by Dorit Roer-Strier, Roni Strier, David Este, Rena Shimoni, and Dawne Clark. Article focuses on impact of immigration on fathers, examining immigrant fathers' perceptions of fatherhood, systematic obstacles facing immigrant fathers, and positive opportunities presented by cultural change.


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