Engaging Fathers in Family-Based Interventions for Child Mental Health

Feb 2021 | Lucy A. Tully, David J. Hawes, & Mark R Dadds.


Many family-based interventions for child and adolescent mental health problems rely on the engagement engagement of mothers, and fathers have often been overlooked or excluded. However, given the evidence that children receive better outcomes from interventions when fathers participate, the lower participation rate of fathers relative to mothers represents an area for immediate action. This chapter describes the benefits of engaging both parents in assessment and interventions and common barriers to engaging fathers. It also explores a range of process strategies that clinicians can enact to enhance the engagement of fathers in assessment and treatment for child mental health problems. Finally, it describes a range of clinician competencies in relation to the engagement of fathers. The participation of fathers as well as mothers ensures a thorough approach to assessment, diagnosis, case formulation and treatment in family-based interventions, thereby potentially increasing the overall effectiveness of treatment for child mental health problems.

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