The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a specialized multi-modal program for new fathers on their expectations of the baby, depression, anxiety, stress (DASS21), and quality of life.
This exploratory study employed a one group, repeated measures design to evaluate a facilitated program to educate and support new fathers during the transition into fatherhood. Prospective fathers were recruited from the rosters for the antenatal classes taught at a medical center hospital system in Texas. Fathers who agreed to participate in the study had the study explained and were consented. They were asked to attend a three and a half hour session including content on: the first issues for new fathers, challenges in forming a parenting team, the fathering role, Kangaroo Care, caring for mom, caring for the infant, capabilities of the infant, finding support systems, available resources for fathers, and safety issues. The class was taught in the prenatal period. Once the baby was born, the facilitator visited the fathers with their babies on the postpartum unit. The facilitator answered questions, demonstrated any skills that the fathers requested, and allowed the fathers to voice concerns regarding the new role. After discharge, the facilitator contacted the father by phone at 1 week, 1 month, and four months to allow the father to ask questions and discuss issues. Prior to the class, at one month and at four months, the father was asked to complete the Self Efficacy in Infant Care Scale and the What Being a Parent of a New Baby is Like scale to measure self efficacy and satisfaction with parenting. The fathers were asked to evaluate the program on a 1-10 scale in terms of meeting their needs, accessibility of the information, and usefulness in assuming the new role.
Eighty four dads completed the study. They were primarily Caucasian, Catholic or Protestant, and married. Their ages varied from 19 to 47. Five were high school graduates, 47 had baccalaureate or masters degrees, six had PhDs, and 21 had some college or an AD. Time with partner varied from 0.83 years to 12. Infant care experience varied from zero to care of own child. Forty seven (56%) had attended child birth classes. Fifty six (67%) accessed pregnancy/childbirth/parenting information 2-4 times per month. Satisfaction scores for the class varied from moderate to high satisfaction. There was a significant difference in infant expectations before and after the class (T40.8; p 0.0). Quality of life scores dropped slightly from pre-test to post delivery, but the difference was not significant. DAS21 scores remained the same from pre- to post-delivery as did relationship assessment scores. The full presentation will provide a more detailed overview of the scales and subscales.
Conclusion: The course was well received by the fathers. The results indicated that this approach was feasible and beneficial to the fathers.
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