Awarded Cooperative Agreement


Statement of the problem: Maltreatment (neglect and physical abuse of children) is an unfortunately prevalent issue in the United States (MacMillan et al., 1997; WHO, 1999). Although considerable empirical support demonstrates that Behavioral Parent Training can provide substantial benefit in altering maladaptive parenting behavior, fathers are not typically engaged in and respond as favorably to these interventions. Purpose of the proposed research: The purpose of the proposed research is to develop a novel intervention, the Fathers Supporting Success in Preschoolers (FSSP) program, to prevent the perpetration of child maltreatment in a population of fathers who are at-risk for child maltreatment. Specific aims of the study include: Developing, refining, and, subsequently evaluating the effectiveness of the revised FSSP program compared to a wait-list control condition at post-treatment and at one-month follow up on primary (observed and self-report of parenting behavior, parent-child relationships, and observed and parent-report of child behavior problems), secondary (parent attributions for children’s behavior; parenting stress; parental depression) outcomes as well as measures of engagement (attendance, dropout from treatment, homework compliance, and consumer satisfaction). We hypothesize that the FSSP program will result in significant improvement on primary and secondary outcomes relative to the wait-list condition. In addition, we hypothesize high levels of engagement to the FSSP program. Methods: During year 1, we will develop the FSSP program, which is driven by both our theoretically-based model of prevention of father perpetration of child maltreatment as well as extensive input from potential consumers of the FSSP. The preliminary FSSP protocol will undergo a feasibility and acceptability trial prior to the stage two, larger clinical trial. The phase two study will evaluate the impact of the FSSP program relative to a wait-list control condition via a randomized clinical trial of 100 fathers and their preschool child on multiple outcomes (father selfreport as well as observation of the father-child interactions). Analysis used in this study for the primarily outcomes will include Random Regression analyses, and benchmarking with supplemental analyses including effect size and moderator analyses. Implications for prevention: T our knowledge, this is one of the few interventions to provide multiple, theoretically-driven adaptations to evidencebased parenting interventions in order to engage fathers in and maximize outcomes following parenting focused interventions. As such, the data obtained from this study will provide critical information to the field of prevention of child maltreatment, including methods to effectively recruit and retain fathers from higher-risk communities, descriptive information on key constructs specifically for fathers (e.g., parenting), as well as assist in determining whether novel interventions, such as the FSSP program, can affect change in key risk factors associated father perpetration of child maltreatment. Program Narrative Child maltreatment is a prevalent occurrence in the United States. Unfortunately, despite data that demonstrate that fathers are often involved in perpetrating child maltreatment, very little research has been conducted on targeting fathers in prevention efforts. This grant is to support the development and evaluate the preliminary benefits of a novel preventive parenting program that targets an at-risk group of fathers-fathers of preschool children who reside in socioeconomically disadvantaged inner-city communities. If successful, this intervention will address an understudied, yet critical area, of public heath concern-the prevention of father perpetration of child maltreatment in an at-risk population.