Awarded Cooperative Agreement
Fathers play an important role in the development of childhood behavior problems. Yet, they are often excluded from interventions aimed at addressing their children’s behaviors. Therefore, efforts are necessary to increase father engagement with parenting programs that improve parenting skills and enhance father child relationships to reduce child behavior problems and prevent child maltreatment. The purpose of the proposed project is to develop an effective strategy to improve father engagement and involvement in Triple P, and to conduct a rigorous pilot evaluation of that strategy (Engaging Fathers). The pilot test will determine the feasibility of providing Triple P and Engaging Fathers within a well-established local agency (Fathers’Support Center, St. Louis [FSC]), and obtain preliminary data on the effectiveness of Triple P and Engaging Fathers. A mixed methods research design will be used to achieve the following research aims: (1) Identify approaches to engage fathers in various circumstances into Triple P, (2) develop Engaging Fathers , and (3) conduct a pilot evaluation to determine the feasibility of implementing Triple P and Engaging Fathers within a non-traditional service setting (fatherhood program) and to inform a larger randomized clinical trial (RCT). Data to inform the development of Engaging Fathers will be collected via multiple methods: focus groups, semi-structured interviews and surveys. Subjects for the focus groups (n = 30), semi-structured interviews (n= 12), and pilot test (n = 50) are African American men who are (a) fathers of at least one child between the ages of 4 and 12, (b) over 18 years of age, (c) not a past or current client of the FSC, and (d) provide some stable care for their children (consistent visitation meets this requirement). Respondents for the web-based surveys will be a national sample of staff from fatherhood programs (n = 50). Content analysis using an inductive reasoning approach will be completed to analyze all qualitative data Statistical analysis of the close-ended survey questions will include the calculation of frequencies and cross-tabulations with chisquare tests. Engaging Fathers as a means to increase father engagement in Triple P will balance fidelity to Triple P and fit with the population and service setting. Its development will be informed by data collected in aim 1, by the adaptation workgroup and by African American father key informants. Finally, we will conduct a rigorous pilot evaluation: (1) comparing Triple P only, and Triple P and Engaging Fathers; (2) evaluating thefeasibility of implementing this intervention and engagement strategy with low income African American fathers within a father support agency; and (3) examining preliminary data that can inform a larger study testing the effectiveness of Triple P and Engaging Fathers being delivered within a non-traditional service setting.Findings from this study will inform efforts to engage a hard to reach population in parenting programs,and will inform cultural adaptations of evidence-based parenting programs.