Fathers

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Fathers in the AIFS library catalogue

When dad can stay home: fathers' workplace flexibility and maternal health

Persson P and Rossin-Slater M
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2019.
This paper investigates how flexible working conditions for fathers can help new mothers' physical and mental health. It analyses the impact of a social insurance reform in Sweden from 2012 that granted fathers the flexibility to take up to 30 days of paid leave on an intermittent basis alongside the mother. The reform increased the likelihood of fathers using any post-baseline leave in the first two and six months after childbirth. In turn, increasing father flexibility and thus availability reduced the risk of the mother experiencing physical postpartum health complications, as seen in reduced likelihoods of mothers' getting any antibiotic and anti-anxiety prescription drugs. The findings suggest that mothers bear the burden from a lack of workplace flexibility - not only directly through greater career costs of family formation, as previously documented - but also indirectly, as fathers' inability to respond to domestic shocks exacerbates the maternal health costs of childbearing. The findings also have important implications for debates about workplace flexibility and paid family leave policies.

Conflicts between work and family and fathers' mental health.

Cooklin A
2018 AIFS Conference highlights. Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019: 3p
This article highlights key findings from a recent study into the work-family conflicts experienced by fathers and whether it has an adverse impact on their mental health. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the study explored fathers' employment characteristics, changes over time in work-family pressures and conflict, and mental health. The study found that fathers' work-family conflict is powerfully linked to mental health, but also that supportive workplaces factors such as workplace flexibility, job security, reasonable work hours, and control over work scheduling can also play a protective role. This article is adapted from the presentation 'Job quality, change and stability in work-family conflict and fathers' mental health', presented by Amanda Cooklin at the AIFS 2018 conference.

Fathers' work and family conflicts and the outcomes for children's mental health.

Leach L
2018 AIFS Conference highlights. Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019: 3p
This article highlights key findings from a recent study into the work-family conflicts experienced by fathers and whether it has adverse impacts on children's mental health. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the study explored fathers' experiences of competing demands in parenting and work and found that parenting and relationship resources deteriorate when fathers' work-family conflict increases or is sustained. This in turn affects children's socio-emotional development and wellbeing. This article is adapted from the presentation 'The impact of change and stability in fathers' work-family conflict on children's mental health', presented by Liana Leach at the AIFS 2018 conference.

Bringing pathways towards accountability together: perpetrator experiences and system roles and responsibilities

Campbell E and Vlais R
Melbourne : RMIT University, 2019
This report discusses issues in developing services for perpetrators of family violence, and was developed initially for policymakers and practitioners in Victoria. It explores the complexity of perpetrator intervention and engagement and proposes a framework of roles and responsibilities which services and agencies can use to guide their interventions with individual perpetrators. Part one discusses research on the experiences of perpetrators as they interact - or resist - the service system and journey towards accountability and Part two presents the framework of roles and responsibilities and highlights issues for consideration. A central concern of integrated responses to family violence is how to put people who cause family violence harm on pathways towards taking responsibility for their behaviour and desisting from violence, and this report proposes a high level approach for agencies working with these clients.

Fathers and work : a statistical overview.

Baxter J
2018 AIFS Conference highlights. Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019: 4p
This paper looks at how fathers' working arrangements have changed over the last few decades in Australia. It reviews statistical trends in fathers' employment rates, use of flexible work arrangements, time spent on child care and housework, 'male breadwinner' versus stay-at-home dad families, single fathers, and unemployment. The findings show that though fathers today may be more involved in child care, their time spent in employment changes little upon the birth of a child, whereas mothers' employment changes considerably. However, fathers are more likely to choose flexible work or working from home arrangements rather than reduce work hours to fit work around child care. This article is adapted from the presentation 'Trends in fathers' working arrangements', presented by Jennifer Baxter at the AIFS 2018 conference.

Fathers and parental leave.

Walsh E
2018 AIFS Conference highlights. Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019: 3p
This article is adapted from the presentation 'The father effect - advancing men taking parental leave in Australia', presented by Emma Walsh at the AIFS 2018 conference. It looks at why Australian fathers are reluctant to take parental leave as well how shared parental leave benefits both families and businesses. It concludes with a call for employers to support and facilitate parental leave for fathers.

SMS4 perinatal parents : designing parenting support via text messages for mothers with severe mental illness (SMI) and their partners.

Fletcher R, Campbell L, Williams A, Rawlinson C, Dye J, Baldwin A, May C and StGeorge J
Advances in Mental Health v. 17 no. 1 Special issue on parenting interventions and the mental health of children and parents 2019: 85-95
This article describes an intervention that uses SMS text messages to help support mothers with severe mental illness and their partners through pregnancy and early infancy. A suite of brief messages were developed for mothers and fathers separately, with topics looking at mood, attachment, co-parenting, self-care, and common stress-inducing parenting issues. The intervention is adapted from the SMS4Dads intervention for new fathers by an expert advisory group.

Child protection and fathering where there is domestic violence : contradictions and consequences.

Smith J and Humphreys C
Child and Family Social Work v. 24 no. 1 Feb 2019: 156-163
This article looks at men's experiences of being held to account for their domestic violence. It presents findings from 69 interviews held with men, workers, and current or former partners involved in men's behaviour change programmes in rural Victoria. Themes raised include: men's attitudes to fathering, harm to children from witnessing partner violence, the affect of violence on their relationship with children, remorse and recognition of harm, children providing motivation to change, sense of victimisation and powerlessness due to child protection involvement, and blaming and denial. The findings highlight a disconnection between men's perspectives of fathering and their interaction with statutory child protection. Though many of the men seemed to own their violence and its impact on their children at first, hedges and contradictions emerged in most men's interviews that qualified responsibility.

More present than absent : men who use domestic violence and their fathering.

Humphreys C, Diemer K, Bornemisza A, Spiteri-Staines A, Kaspiew R and Horsfall B
Child and Family Social Work v. 24 no. 2 May 2019: 321-329
This article highlights the continuing presence of fathers who use violence in the lives of their children after separation. It presents findings from two studies showing the substantial parenting roles and levels of contact with children after separation, and ongoing abuse and poor attitudes to women and children, with the conclusion that the family violence and child welfare systems in Australia are failing to address the issue of fathers who use violence. The first of the studies described is a survey of 101 clients of a Men's Behaviour Change Program, and the second study involved interviews with 50 women who had experienced violence.

Systematic review of the impact of coparenting interventions on paternal coparenting behaviour.

Pilkington P, Rominov H, Brown H and Dennis C
Journal of Advanced Nursing v. 75 no. 1 Jan 2019: 17-29
This article evaluates the effectiveness of coparenting interventions aimed at fathers. It presents the findings of a systematic review of the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at increasing fathers' involvement in parenting and support for their partner. The findings highlight the need for further - and better quality - research.

A matter of time : father involvement and child cognitive outcomes.

Cano T, Perales F and Baxter J
Journal of Marriage and Family v. 81 no. 1 Feb 2019: 164-184
Most research on the impact of parental time on child development focuses on mothers - this article adds to the evidence by looking at father's time with children. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), it examines the associations between different types of father activities with children and children's cognitive development - between the ages of 4 and 8 years old. It also considers whether father's education level plays a role. The findings highlight the benefits of fathers spending time with their child in educational activities.

Enhancing father engagement in parenting programs : translating research into practice recommendations.

Lechowicz M, Jiang Y, Tully L, Burn M, Collins D, Hawes D, Lenroot R, Anderson V, Doyle F, Piotrowska P, Frick P, Moul C, Kimonis E and Dadds M
Australian Psychologist v. 54 no. 2 Apr 2019: 83-89
This article identifies policy and practice issues in engaging fathers in parenting interventions, based on previous review of the literature. The article presents six broad policy and practice recommendations to enhance father engagement: engaging fathers as part of the parenting team; avoiding a deficit model of fathering; increasing awareness of parenting interventions for fathers; ensuring father?inclusive content and delivery of parenting interventions; increasing father engagement practices at the organisational and service level; and increasing professional training regarding father engagement. This study is part of a broader project on fathers' needs and preferences in parenting interventions.

Family assemblages.

Price-Robertson R and Duff C
Social and Cultural Geography 5 Jan 2018: Advance online publication
This article introduces the concept of 'family assemblages', which offers richer insights into family life by including all of the physical spaces, material objects, cultural norms, social institutions, and social and legal policies - not just the human members or even pets - that 'participate' in the family. The article explains the nature and utility of this concept, then demonstrates its use with a case study of a father with mental health concerns. Broadening the definition of what is included in this man's family context provides greater understanding of the factors that played a role in his recovery.

Keeping parents involved : predicting attrition in a self-directed, online program for childhood conduct problems.

Dadds M, Sicouri G, Piotrowska P, Collins D, Hawes D, Moul C, Lenroot R, Frick P, Anderson V, Kimonis E and Tully L
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 1 Aug 2018: Advance online publication
This article investigates what leads to drop out from a free, universal, online parenting program in Australia. 'ParentWorks' is a self-directed and 'father-friendly' program aimed at parents who had general concerns about parenting and child behaviour. 2,967 parents registered for participation following a national media campaign, but there was a steady loss of participants throughout the course - only 218 parents completed the postintervention questionnaire. The article examines the parent and child characteristics of those who completed the program in full, who completed some of the course but then either deliberately discontinued or did not complete the postintervention questionnaire, or who registered but then didn't complete any of the course. The findings showed that single parents and fathers had a relatively high participation rate, and that though the dropout rate is very high, self-directed online programs provide an effective and low cost intervention for those parents who do persist and complete the program.

Black Box Parenting Program for substance-abusing fathers : a feasibility study.

Torres M, Deane F, Sng R and Quinlan E
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 39 no. 4 Dec 2018: 472-486
The Black Box Parenting Program is a program model aimed at vulnerable parents. This article investigates whether it is suitable to use as a residential treatment program for fathers affected by substance abuse. A feasibility trial was conducted with 14 fathers, assessing barriers to implementation, client acceptability and satisfaction, client retention, and impact on parental self-efficacy, perceived closeness to their child, and feelings of guilt. The article discusses the findings and concludes that overall the program shows promise for this population group and setting.

Toward father-friendly parenting interventions : a qualitative study.

Sicouri G, Tully L, Collins D, Burn M, Sargeant K, Frick P, Anderson V, Hawes D, Kimonis E, Moul C, Lenroot R and Dadds M
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 39 no. 2 Jun 2018: 218-231
This article adds to what is known about fathers' low rates of participation in parenting interventions. It presents the findings of focus groups held with 41 fathers recruited from family service organisations in New South Wales and Queensland, regarding the barriers to engagement and their preferences for the content and delivery of interventions. Fathers' belief that parenting interventions are predominantly mother-focused, combined with common beliefs around gender roles in parenting and help-seeking, highlight the need for targeted promotion and recruitment.

Profile of consumers and their partners of a perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) service in Australia.

Coates D, Saleeba C and Howe D
Health and Social Care in the Community v. 26 no. 1 Jan 2018: e154-e163
This article provides information on the characteristics of clients and their partners attending a perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) service in New South Wales, establishing a profile of typical consumers. Client data for 406 consumers over a 6-year period was analysed, including demographical characteristics, mental health problems, and psychosocial vulnerabilities. The findings show that clients presented with an average of nine different vulnerabilities, most commonly depression, anxiety, self-harm, a history of family mental health issues, childhood trauma, limited support, relationship conflict with partners, and financial stress, with the client's partners also experiencing a range of vulnerabilities.

Keeping children visible in practice responses to family and domestic violence

Moss D and Dolman C
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2018
This paper aims to help practitioners and organisations to respond to family and domestic violence in ways that prioritise children's social and emotional wellbeing and safety. It asks practitioners to reflect on how the social and emotional wellbeing and safety of children can be prioritised when parents are initially assessed, how mothers are can be supported to prioritise the safety of their children and themselves, and how fathers who perpetrate violence can be engaged in ways that keep children and partners safe. Sections include: what is family and domestic violence and how does it affect children?; the co-existence of FDV and intergenerational disadvantage; gendered and relational approaches to the effects of family and domestic violence on children; and the practitioner's position of curiosity.

Engaging men as fathers : how gender influences men's involvement in Australian family health services.

Pfitzner N, Humphreys C and Hegarty K
Journal of Family Issues v. 39 no. 16 2018: 3956-3985
Despite the modern ideals of 'involved fatherhood' and shared caregiving, parenting services and programs continue to be oriented toward mothers rather than mothers and fathers as co-parents. This article investigates how gender impacts on service providers' engagement with new fathers, drawing on a case study of the Baby Makes 3 respectful relationships program. This 3-week pilot program is being trialled in Victoria by Maternal and Child Health Services, as part of their suite of free programs offered to all new, first time parents. It is a universal intervention targeting fathers in health settings and aims to prevent intimate partner violence by promoting equal and respectful relationships between men and women during the transition to parenthood. The article reports on staff and father views on the gender-related factors that shape men's father identities, behaviours, and decisions to participate, and contends that valuing men's transition to fatherhood might not only increase father engagement in parenting support services, but also their participation in care work.

Safe with dad

Toone E
Richmond, Vic. : Berry Street Victoria, 2018.
Though infants and young children are negatively impacted by family violence, they are receptive to interventions aimed at repairing the parent-child relationship. However, the research on relationship repair so far has focussed on the child's relationship with their mother and there is a dearth of Australian practice parameters for guiding safe clinical practice. To help address this gap, this paper looks at four local and overseas programs that have found a way to work safely with very young children and their fathers who have used violence. It reviews the Dads on Board program from Australia, the Alternative to Violence program from Norway, and the Fathers for Change and Child-Parent Psychotherapy programs from the United States, then considers the implications for practice in Australia. The paper also briefly outlines the research on the impact of family violence upon children and their relationships and their need for relational repair with both non-offending and offending caregivers.

Invisible practices: working with fathers who use violence : practice guide

Healey L, Humphreys C, Tsantefski M, Heward-Belle S and Mandel D
Sydney, NSW : ANROWS, 2018.
A project was recently undertaken to develop effective, safe, and evidence-based ways of working with fathers who use violence, in the context of fathers who live with or remain in close contact with their children. This paper collates the learnings for practitioners, including techniques and questions for consideration, in the areas of working with fathers who use violence and control, partnering with women, working with children and young people, working collaboratively, and worker safety. The 'Invisible Practice' project involved several components, including the establishment of 'Communities of Practice' in 5 sites across Australia, bringing together child protection and family support service practitioners and utilising training and resources from the 'Safe & Together' model from the United States.

Invisible practices: intervention with fathers who use violence : key findings and future directions

Healey L, Humphreys C, Tsantefski M, Heward-Belle S and Mandel D
Sydney : ANROWS, 2018.
This paper highlights the key findings and policy and practice implications from a recent study to develop effective, safe, and evidence-based ways of working with fathers who use violence, in the context of fathers who live with or remain in close contact with their children. The Invisible Practice project involved several components, including the establishment of 'Communities of Practice' (CoP) in 5 sites across Australia, bringing together child protection and family support service practitioners and utilising training and resources from the 'Safe & Together' model from the United States. This paper outlines the project, key findings from a review of the literature, and key learnings from the participating practitioners on working with fathers who use violence and control, partnering with women, focusing on children and young people, and the role of organisations and practitioner capacity-building. The paper concludes with the implications for policy-makers and practitioners and questions for organisations to consider about worker safety.

Invisible practices: intervention with fathers who use violence

Healey L, Humphreys C, Tsantefski M, Heward-Belle S and Mandel D
Sydney : ANROWS, 2018.
The Invisible Practice project aimed to develop effective, safe, and evidence-based ways of working with fathers who use violence, in the context of fathers who live with or remain in close contact with their children. 'Communities of Practice' (CoP) were established in 5 sites across Australia, bringing together child protection and family support service practitioners and utilising training and resources from the 'Safe & Together' model from the United States. Learnings and practice developments were analysed, supplemented by a practitioner forum to develop guidelines and a review of the literature on 'whole of family' approaches to working with fathers. This report details the findings of the project, in terms of capacity building, collaboration, systemic and organisational issues, worker safety, partnering with women, and focusing on children. The findings highlight how how practices can be implemented and enhanced and also the critical need for organisational support from senior management.

Support for new parents and babies in New South Wales

Conolly K
Sydney, N.S.W. : Parliament of New South Wales, 2018.
This inquiry investigates current services and supports for parents of infants in New South Wales, and how they can be improved. Research highlights the benefits and cost-effectiveness of early intervention and support for parents during their children's early years, so this inquiry was established to examine the adequacy of current services and structures, especially for vulnerable parents, and consider the changes to current services and structures that could improve physical health, mental health and child protection outcomes, models of support provided in other jurisdictions, and the opportunities for new and emerging technology to enhance support. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the inquiry, beginning with the need for better coordinated and integrated universal child and family health services. Topics include home visiting services and services targeting fathers, perinatal mental health, parents with disability, Indigenous families, parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and young homeless parents.

'It's just good to get a bit of man-talk out in the open' : men's experiences of father-only antenatal preparation classes in Tasmania, Australia.

Nash M
Psychology of Men and Masculinity v. 19 no. 2 2018: 298-307
This article explores new fathers' views of their antenatal support and information needs and father-only antenatal support groups. It draws on interviews with 25 men in Tasmania, who attended either a more informal health information session held in a pub, or a parenting support group session held in hospital or local community centre. The men were interviewed before and after the birth of their child, to explore how they experience the transition to fatherhood, their support and information needs, how they negotiate masculinity and involved fatherhood, and their views on the course content and format.

Fathers' parental leave-taking, childcare involvement and mothers' labor market participation

Tamm M
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2018.
In 2007, Germany introduced a new system of paid parental leave, which provided eligible families with 14 months of paid parental leave out of which two months were reserved for the father. Thus, fathers could take either: no leave, exactly two months of leave, or more than two months of leave, up to 12 months at most. Administrative data showed that this reform considerably increased the number of fathers taking parental leave, from no more than 3% to 34% in 2014. This paper investigates the impact of taking paternity leave on the time fathers spend with their children and on their and their partner's employment. The analysis looks at both short and long-term effects, measured up to six years after childbirth, and drawing on data from the Socio-Economic Panel of over 11,000 households. The findings indicate that even short periods of paternity leave may have long-lasting effects on fathers' involvement in childcare and housework. Though the impact on mothers' labor supply is also significantly positive, it does not persist over time.

Paternal psychological distress, parenting, and child behaviour : a population based, cross-sectional study.

Gulenc A, Butler E, Sarkadi A and Hiscock H
Child : Care, Health and Development v. 44 no. 6 Nov 2018: 892-900
Research has found that poor maternal mental health and parenting style are risk factors for child behaviour problems, but what about fathers? This article investigates the association between fathers' psychological distress and parenting style and behaviour problems in children at 3 years of age. Data was taken for 669 fathers participating in a broader study. Mothers' mental health and parenting was also considered. The findings indicate that fathers also have an impact on their children's behaviour, through psychological distress, harsh discipline, or overinvolved parenting, and need to be involved in any interventions aimed at addressing behaviour problems.

Contemporary fatherhood : social, demographic and attitudinal factors associated with involved fathering and long work hours.

Coles L, Hewitt B and Martin B
Journal of Sociology v. 54 no. 4 2018: 591-608
Though Australia still maintains a culture of strong male breadwinners, there is also an emerging trend around parenting, with today's fathers expected to be more involved in their children's lives and care. This article investigates the characteristics of those fathers who are doing both - that is, men who are highly involved with their children despite working long hours. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, it compares the attitudinal, family, and work-related characteristics of fathers, and the amounts of time they spend at work and with their children. It identifies four groups of fathers according to the way they combine work and family, and challenges the theory that fathers' work hours are negatively associated with the time they spend with children.

How do young Aboriginal fathers in Australia 'stay on track'? - perspectives on the support networks of Aboriginal fathers.

Faulkner D, Hammond C, Nisbet L and Fletcher R
Journal of Family Studies 25 Oct 2018: Advance online publication
This article explores the strengths and challenges for young Aboriginal fathers from regional and urban New South Wales and their sources of support. The findings highlight how these young men are doing well in their new role and the support provided by extended, close-knit families and Aboriginal communities.

Harried and unhealthy? Parenthood, time pressure, and mental health.

Ruppanner L, Perales F and Baxter J
Journal of Marriage and Family 19 Oct 2018: Advance online publication
This article investigates the impact of parenthood on parents' sense of time pressure and their mental health, including whether it persists or eases over time and whether time pressure mediates the relationship between parenthood and mental health. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, it looks at the association between a first and second birth on time pressure and mental health, how these vary with time since birth, parent gender, and parental responsibilities and work.
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