Many fathers with intellectual disabilities experience some difficulties in fulfilling their parenting role due external factors. The quality of their parenting depends on various factors, including the availability and adequacy of support. The aim of this study was to understand the lived experiences associated with social support of fathers with intellectual disabilities.
The organisation of the research and data analysis were carried out in accordance with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 fathers with intellectual disabilities.
In the analysis, three interrelated themes emerged: Discrepancies between needs and provision of support; Discriminatory practices and feeling (dis)empowered; and Recognition of support.
Fathers described negative aspects of their experiences that were not conducive to strengthening paternal competences and led to a sense of loneliness. Positive aspects also emerged, indicating that fathers were determined to fulfil their role despite the lack of adequate support for their needs.