Narrative Accounts, Generative Fathering, and Family Life Education


fathering, generative fathering, family life education, narratives of change


This article suggests that theory and story can be effectively linked in interpretive family life education programs and illustrates this potential by discussing how personal narrative accounts of fathers encounters with their children can be used to understand and encourage good fathering (herein referred to as generative fathering). The article (a) presents a theory of how fathers change and the implications of this theory for the use of fathers narrative accounts in interpretive family life education, (b) briefly discusses the concept of generative fathering and presents a conceptual framework for understanding and encouraging generative fathering, and (c) illustrates the potential utility of narrative accounts in encouraging generative fathering in family life education with accounts collected from fathers. Although the method applied herein is not, in the strictest sense, qualitative research, it illustrates how qualitative methodology can be applied to family life education.

Original Publication Citation

Dollahite, D. C., Hawkins, A. J., & Brotherson, S. (1996). Narrative accounts, generative fathering, and family life education. Marriage and Family Review, 24, 333-352.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Marriage & Family Review




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor