What is it about?
Adult children play a very important role in the lives of their older parents. This paper looks at the experiences of older men who had wanted to be dads but did not become one and the impact it had on their attitudes, behaviours, economics, health and relationships. The paper shows that not having children affects men's men at and physical health.
Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash
Why is it important?
There are more childless men than childless women yet stories of men's experiences of childlessness across their lives are very rare. The findings show that men are very interested in becoming fathers and that not becoming a dad is a life-long bereavement that impacts on how men feel about themselves and how they are seen by others.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: ‘No longer invincible’: the impact of involuntary childlessness on older men, Physical Therapy Reviews, February 2021, Taylor & Francis,
You can read the full text:
Male Psychology Conference 2019: ‘Fracking fatherhood: the da(d)ynamic of fatherhood and the me(chanics) of male childlessness.’
Presentation made at Male Psychology Conference 2019, UCL, London, UK. ‘Fracking fatherhood: the da(d)ynamic of fatherhood and the me(chanics) of male childlessness.’ Covers men's experience of male involuntary childlessness compared to fatherhood. Examines the impact of unwanted male childlessness on socio-economics, health, identity, close, intimate and wider and relationships across the life course.
Ageing Issues Blog: The Reflective Call of Carers Ageing without Children and/or Family: ‘Who will be there for me when I need it?
Blog setting out the importance of needing more data about people ageing without children & their needs.
Pre-publication draft available via the Manchester Metropolitan University Research Repository
A pre-publication draft of ' No longer invincible’: the impact of involuntary childlessness on older men.' May be slightly different from the published piece. How to cite: Robin A. Hadley (2021) ‘No longer invincible’: the impact of involuntary childlessness on older men, Physical Therapy Reviews, 26:5, 328-343, DOI: 10.1080/10833196.2021.1884172
Book, '"How is a man supposed to be a man"? Male childlessness - a Life Course Disrupted.'
REVIEWS “I think this is an excellent piece of scholarship that covers an often unspoken topic in a sensitive, novel and comprehensive way. In this sense, it contributes important new knowledge to an area by considering it from a different viewpoint – most notably moving beyond a simple biomedical view or an experiential view of younger men and infertility.” • Steve Robertson, University of Sheffield “a ground-breaking book shining the light on men and their experiences, how men may feel when they don’t end up having children for one reason or another e.g. not meeting the right person, infertility.” • Guild of Health Writers “This book provides gerontologists with much needed insights into the lived experiences of male childlessness from a life course perspective embedded in critical theoretical approaches on normative life course expectations, ageing and gender, as well as family and social relations… Robin Hadley’s work is both critical and reflexive. He locates his theoretical work within feminist scholarship and acknowledges his position within the field of research by examining his own biography and social position and what that means when conducting interviews with men who describe themselves as involuntarily childless…The methods chapter can be added to reading lists for postgraduate students and the pen portraits of each of the interviewees are a rare and valuable source for learning about qualitative research and reflexivity.” • Aging and Society “The book has some features that make it interesting to readers from both a professional and a wider audience. First, it is very well referenced and equipped with details related to methodology of the study… It is well written, often in a personalised language, with accounts of the author’s experiences related both to the process of data collection and analysis and to the dissemination of results. The Epilogue particularly warrants attention, as it brings reflections not only on myths around men and masculinities, but also on childlessness in later life and COVID-19 –reflections that additionally illustrate the effects of not becoming a father.” • Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology “A highly personal book yet also an academic one with all the critical rigour that entails and makes this a compelling book. It’s a must read for illuminating men’s experiences of involuntary childlessness for one reason or another…This is a rich thought provoking emotional yet highly academic book – and with its clear structure and excellent index a huge resource to be drawn on.” • Medical Journalists Association “This is an important piece of work that addresses areas of masculinity, sexuality, life and an exploration of lived lives through research that have previously been underrepresented in the academic and public press.” • Josephine Tetley, Manchester Metropolitan University DESCRIPTION The global trend of declining fertility rates and an increasingly ageing population has serious implications for individuals and institutions alike. Childless men are mostly excluded from ageing, social science and reproduction scholarship and almost completely absent from most national statistics. This unique book examines the lived experiences of a hidden and disenfranchised population: men who wanted to be fathers. It explores the complex intersections that influence childlessness over the life course. How to cite: Hadley, R. A. (2021). How is a man supposed to be a man? Male childlessness - a Life Course Disrupted. New York: Berghahn Books.
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