“The Feeling Is What Counts”: Fathers’ Perspectives on Child Risk and Protection within the Ultra-Orthodox Context

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Context is known to have substantial influence on issues pertaining to child development. Nevertheless, the field of child well-being, risk, and protection is rooted in Western modernized research and experience, often overlooking contextual dissimilarity. The present study aimed to explore risk and protection for children in a distinct context: the Ultra-Orthodox community, which is an insular and religiously close-knit society. Fifteen in-depth interviews with Ultra-Orthodox fathers dealing with issues of child risk and protection were conducted and thematically analyzed. Analysis of the findings revealed two major areas that fathers viewed as posing potential risk for children: poverty and a lack of paternal presence. In both cases, the fathers emphasized that appropriate mediation of these circumstances can diffuse their potential harm. The discussion outlines the different ways fathers proposed mediating potential risk situations, highlighting distinct religion-related methods. It then considers specific, context-informed ramifications and recommendations and notes limitations and directions for future study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4385
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Halbert Centre for Canadian Studies and the Haruv Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the author.


  • child protection
  • child risk
  • context-informed perspective
  • fatherhood
  • poverty
  • ultra-orthodox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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