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Background or Objectives:
Father involvement is a key component in maintaining healthy families and communities. This study presents quantitative results of the first five years of a comprehensive fatherhood training program offered by REACHUP, Inc. in Florida, United States.
The program utilized the 24/7 Dad ® curriculum for the fatherhood training program. Key program outcome was differences in pre and post-test scores on self-awareness, fathering skills, parenting skills, relationship skills, and self-care. Demographic and pretest-post-test data collected between 2013 and 2017 were analyzed using chi-square test for categorical variables, McNemar’s test for differences in proportions pre- and post-intervention, paired sample t-test to compare means in pretest and post-test scores and analysis of variance (ANOVA) to test the difference between means across years and demographic characteristics.
Attendance in the program increased yearly, nearly doubling from 55 participants in 2013 to 97 in 2017. The mean pretest score was 8.90 (±4.04) and the mean posttest score was 16.42 (±4.54) out of 22 total points, representing a highly significant positive effect of the program on self-awareness, fathering skills, parenting skills, relationship skills and self-care which will enable men to establish long-lasting positive relationships with their children. There were significant differences by demographic characteristics. Younger participants tended to score lower on the pretest but made the most knowledge gains following the training as indicated by the difference in pre- and post-test scores (<0.001).
Conclusion and Global Health Implications:
Increasing yearly attendance indicates the notion of male involvement is gaining momentum. An important lesson learned over the five-year period is that not all males who participated in the program were biological fathers of infants, young children or adolescents. Many participants were grandfathers, uncles and family friends, indicating that the benefits of a male involvement program can extend beyond the boundaries of biological fatherhood.