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Understanding Dad™- Pilot Study of a Program to Increase Mothers’ Understanding of Dads (2013)

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© 2013 NATIONAL FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE ® www.fatherhood.org 1 UNDERSTANDING DAD ™ : TEMPLE UNIVERSITY EVALUATION REPORT Pilot Study of a Program to Increase Mothers' Understanding of Dads Jay Fagan, Ph.D. Professor Temple University, School of Social Work Mollie Cherson, M.A. Research Assistant Temple University, School of Social Work Abstract The present study evaluated the effects of mothers' participation in an eight week intervention program, Understanding Dad ™ , on mothers' relationship awareness, knowledge of healthy coparenting relationships, and relationship self-efficacy. Thirty-four mothers were recruited from four sites to participate in a study that used a pretest/post-test one-group design. Over the course of this eight week program, mothers demonstrated moderate to large gains in each of the outcome measures, after controlling for mothers' educational level. Moreover, there was one significant within-subjects interaction effect for time × location. That is, mothers made significantly greater gains in pro-relationship knowledge in one of the intervention sites. Implications for future research are discussed. Key words: coparenting, gatekeeping, responsible fatherhood, relationship awareness Pilot Study of a Program to Increase Mothers' Understanding of Dads Society is increasingly demanding that men who bear children assume an active, nurturing father role. A growing body of research literature has also documented the many factors that influence the extent to which fathers are involved with their children (Holmes & Huston, 2010). One factor that has received considerable attention by researchers and practitioners in recent years is the influence that mothers have on fathers' involvement with children (Kulik & Tsoref, 2010). Some of the literature has suggested that mothers exert considerable influence on fathers by engaging in gatekeeping behavior, defined as behaviors that serve to control fathers' access to children, the activities in which they are engaged, and the ways in which fathers interact with their children (authors). More recently, studies have shown that mothers also play a significant role in facilitating fathers' involvement with children (Cannon, Shoppe-Sullivan, Mangelsdorf, Brown, & Sokolowski, 2008). In these instances, mothers encourage and support fathers to become involved with their children. Mothers also influence paternal involvement with children through their engagement in a range of coparenting interactions, defined as "the ways that parents work together in their roles as parents" (Feinberg, 2003, p. 1499). A version of this evaluation report was accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal: Fagan, J., Cherson, M., Brown, C., & Vecere, E. (2015). Pilot program to increase mother's understanding of dads. Family Process. doi: 10.1111/famp.12137.

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