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uni'wissen 01(3)-2011_ENG

Although much research on teenage parenthood has been conducted in recent years, hardly any of these studies go beyond simply providing a snapshot of the current situation and pointing out shortcomings and risk factors. But not only have young fathers been ignored by the research community, they have also been abandoned by social organizations: There are a lot of hotlines for pregnant teens, and there are advice centers, training programs, and housing concepts for underage mothers. And the fathers? “There is often no place for them in these servic- es. Instead of integrating young fathers, they of- ten regard them as a source of disturbance from the outset,” says the sociologist and psycholo- gist Dr. Dieter Fuchs, who is jointly responsible for the project as a freelance researcher at the Section for Catholic Welfare Studies of the Fac- ulty of Theology. Instead of concentrating exclu- sively on the mother and child, the two research- ers are focusing on the entire relationship structure in their project: “What we’re interested in is not just the binary relationship between mother and child.” The research design of the project is correspondingly complex: Parallel to conducting a quantitative questionnaire among teenage parents in the districts of Lörrach, Ras- tatt, and Ortenau, the researchers are examining the life stories of the young fathers and mothers as well as the emotional bond between the par- ents and their child in qualitative case studies. Playing Together The questionnaires were distributed by the social services departments of the district ad- ministrative offices and by support organiza- tions for mothers and children. The researchers always attempted to get both parents to partici- pate. Nevertheless, the response rate for teen- age fathers is only at 29 percent so far. The questionnaire included biographical data on family, relationships, and social networks as well as more involved questions such as what role models the young parents have, what con- flicts they are involved in, what expectations they place on themselves, and what they want for themselves as parents and for their children, both at the present time and for the future. In order to identify differences between teenage parents and other youths, the researchers also asked childless teenagers from the same region and the same schools to participate in the ques- Dr. Dieter Fuchs is a freelance researcher at the Section for Catholic Welfare Studies of the Fac- ulty of Theology of the Uni- versity of Freiburg, where he has taught methodology seminars and courses for the master program in street children education since 2001. He studied psy- chology (diplom in 1967) and social sciences (PhD in 1988). After completing his studies he did various forms of freelance work, such as at the SOS Chil- dren’s Village in Sulzburg and as an adjunct lecturer for communication studies at the Department of Archi- tecture of the University of Stuttgart. During this time Dieter Fuchs also complet- ed expert’s reports on the topic “Citizen Involvement in Planning [for Municipal Construction Projects]” for the Ministry of the Interior. Between 1972 and 1991 he was departmental director of the day care centers run by the Youth Office of the City of Stuttgart and also taught classes part time at the Stuttgart Academy for Cooperative Education. He then concentrated on bio­graphy research. Prof. Dr. Klaus Baumann had himself ordained as a priest in 1989 after com- pleting his studies in theol- ogy in Freiburg and Rome. He then studied psychology at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana in Rome and received training as a psy- chotherapist. In 1996 he earned his doctorate in ­theology. Afterwards, he worked in the area of pas- toral care and opened a psychotherapeutic practice in Freiburg. When Germa- ny passed the Psychother- apist Law in 1999, he ap- plied for a license as a psychological psycho­ therapist. In 2002 he was appointed as professor for applied human sciences at the Faculty of Theology in Paderborn. Since 2004 he has served as professor for Catholic welfare studies and Christian social work at the University of Freiburg, and in 2010 he was selected as dean of the Faculty of Theology. 37uni'wissen 03