Kevin Shafer, PhD and Rex Nielson, PhD
(1) An international cross-disciplinary mentored research experience with a faculty member from
the School of Social Work and a faculty member from Spanish & Portuguese.
Students involved in the Brazilian Fatherhood project were able to travel to Salvador, Bahia,
Brazil for data collection on the project. They spent eight weeks (Spring term, 2016) in the
city and collected data from approximately 100 fathers.
(2) An immersive foreign language and cultural experience in South America for students
As part of their experience, students were able to live with host families, arranged through a
third-party provider, go to church in Brazilian wards, and experience a variety of culturally
immersive experiences while in Bahia. This included a greater understanding of Bahian and
Brazilian culture, the history of slavery in Brazil, Brazilian and Bahiano art, music, and
dance, and trips to NGOs working a variety of areas to improve the lives of low-income
(3) Students working on an interdisciplinary team with faculty mentors, graduate students, and
undergraduate students to enhance their educational and career pursuits.
In addition to faculty from FHSS and Humanities, students had the ability to work with
faculty from our partner institution, Universidade Catolica do Salvador (UCSal). Faculty at
UCSal came from psychology, law, and a variety of social science disciplines. In addition,
students were pared with graduate students in the family studies program at UCSal to
conduct surveys with Brazilian fathers.
(4) Students helping to develop survey instruments, learn about cross-cultural research, gather
data in an international context, and hands-on, in-field social work experience.
Both graduate and undergraduate students were able to help develop the questionnaires used
on the project, beginning in Winter 2016 and saw through with the process in Spring 2016’s
field school experience.
(5) Students using SPSS, Stata, and AMOS to analyze quantitative data and Nvivo for
(6) Students writing abstracts for professional conferences;
(7) Students preparing and delivering presentations at professional conferences;
(8) Students writing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals, many as co-authors.
Currently, data entry is being conducted in Brazil for this project. As a result, goals 5
through 8 are currently pending. However, students did transcribe interviews and work on
various aspects of data entry and data processing at BYU during the 2016-17 academic year.
These students will continue to work on this project, in the future.
Preliminary findings from available data suggest that abuse is common in Brazilian families and that
there is an intergenerational transmission of these issues, particularly among males. Furthermore,
economic concerns were a primary issue for men and helped explain why they were not more
involved with their families and did not spend more time with their children. Many men explained
that they wanted to be more involved, but could not because of the economic realities of their
family. The lack of paternal involvement appeared to have effects on other family members, as well.
Many men reported the toll that being away from home had on their partners and children.
However, there was substantial variability in this—as men from higher social classes appeared to be
more involved than their poorer counterparts.
As noted above, students were involved in nearly all aspects of the project, including the proposal of
research questions, data collection, and presentations to both students and faculty at UCSal and in
invited firesides and lessons in LDS wards and stakes in Salvador. The following students
participated on this project (* indicates the student worked on the project after the field school):
• Doug Wendt, MFT PhD Student*
• Angus Bennion, undergraduate*
• Mitch Rogers, undergraduate
• Alex Wambach, undergraduate*
• Elisa Beck, undergraduate*
• Joshua Erickson, undergraduate*
• Maddie Cope, undergraduate*
• Aubrey Day, undergraduate
• Courtney Dickson, undergraduate
• Shannon Thevinen, undergraduate