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InsideOut Dad®- Examining the Outcomes of the InsideOut Dad Fatherhood Education Program With Incarcerated Minority Fathers (2020)

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Corrections-Based Fatherhood Education Advocates of corrections-based fatherhood education view such interventions as an opportunity to lessen the impact of incarceration on families, help men enhance parenting skills, sustain parent–child bonds, and improve parental well-being (Armstrong et al., 2018). Incarceration may actually be seen as a window of opportunity for increasing responsible father- hood (Goodey et al., 2019). Moreover, the majority of incar- cerated parents will eventually be released and afforded the opportunity to resume active parental roles (Dyer, 2005). Differences in the outcomes of corrections-based fatherhood education programs are attributed to variability in curricula implementation (Armstrong et al., 2018). Examples of this variability are found in the evaluative work of Barr et al. (2014) and Block et al. (2014). Despite some empirical focus on corrections-based fatherhood education in the last decade, few studies have captured the fatherhood education experi- ences of incarcerated minority fathers (Cabrera et al., 2015). Beyond the need to document the potential benefits of such education, evaluative research is needed to document the related experiences and subjective attitudes of fathers from marginalized groups. These efforts are consistent with some of the main objectives of the current federal responsible father- hood initiative, which seeks to promote family stability among low-income and minority populations and greater father invol- vement in the face of certain obstacles, such as incarceration (Dion et al., 2015; Weaver, 2012). A Family Systems View of Incarceration and Family and Individual Well-Being Family systems theorists have empirically documented recipro- cal influence in family processes between parents and their children (Buehler & Welsh, 2009). For example, trauma attrib- uted to parental incarceration has been linked to child beha- vioral problems (Lee et al., 2013), psychological distress (Morsy & Rothstein, 2016), and poor academic performance (Wildeman & Western, 2010). But reciprocal influence can also be positive. Opportunities for incarcerated fathers to inter- act with their children can decrease paternal distress and child alienation, subsequently strengthening father–child relations (Poehlmann et al., 2010; Roxburgh & Fitch, 2013; Visher, 2013). Research is needed to learn the extent to which father- hood education can benefit incarcerated minority fathers. Partner relations. The toll incarceration takes on romantic rela- tionships is likewise systemic. For example, incarceration alters the relationship dynamics of romantic partners (Wilde- man & Western, 2010) and increases the likelihood of marital dissolution (Huebner, 2005; Lopoo & Western, 2005). Such relationships may already be at a disadvantage due to other socioemotional development issues stemming from family backgrounds, which often translate into a lack of coping skills and less stable relationships in adulthood (Repetti et al., 2007). Systemic "spillover" of psychological distress between part- ners is common when one partner is incarcerated (Wildeman & Western, 2010). Furthermore, if incarceration leads to single parenthood for nonincarcerated partners, resentment between partners may result (Fishman, 1990; Nurse, 2002). Single par- enthood as the result of incarceration is relatively common in minority communities (Western & Wildeman, 2009); however, research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the link between incarceration and partner conflict. Subjective well-being. Adult well-being has systemic influence on children (Buehler & Welsh, 2009) but needs more study in the context of fatherhood education. As a comprehensive measure of life satisfaction, subjective well-being encompasses objec- tive and subjective determinants (Fleche et al., 2011). The current study focuses on determinants that fall into the latter category, with a focus on psychological distress and social support. Subjective well-being has garnered more emphasis on fatherhood education programs with the goal of strengthen- ing participants' personal development and orienting them toward positive future outlooks (Dion et al., 2015). Psychological distress and incarcerated parents. Due to a greater likelihood of trauma, incarcerated individuals are at risk for poor mental health and social support (Maruschak et al., 2010; Roxburgh & Fitch, 2013). For example, depression and anxiety is more prevalent among incarcerated parents than incarcerated nonparents (Kjellstrand & Eddy, 2011; Wolff & Shi, 2012) and often stems from being separated from their children, concern for their welfare, and the lack of opportunity to assume a parental role (Shannon & Abrams, 2007). Research remains limited relative to fatherhood education's role in reducing psychological distress among incarcerated minority fathers. Social support. Social support includes informal networks of friends and family members and formal networks such as social service organizations (Cowan et al., 2010). The lack of social support, most notably through limited family interaction, has been found to be detrimental to incarcerated fathers, impacting the quality of parenting they are able to provide (Arditti & Few, 2006; Windzio, 2006). Conversely, access to positive social support during incarceration holds benefits for fathers, such as improved father–child relationships (Swanson et al., 2011), improved prison-life adjustment (Jiang & Winfree, 2006), reduced recidivism (Cochran, 2014), and more positive levels of psychological well-being (Listwan et al., 2010). Con- sistent social support is a resource that benefits individuals postrelease (Listwan et al., 2010; Pettus-Davis, 2014); how- ever, more research is needed to examine the role of social support for minority men during incarceration (Pettus-Davis, 2014). Current Study The current study has two major aims: (a) to evaluate the impact of a fatherhood education program (i.e., InsideOut Dad) 2 The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families XX(X)

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