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

The cost of perinatal depression and anxiety in Australia

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Australia), Gidget Foundation, Perinatal Wellbeing Centre, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia Inc., Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness Inc.
Australia : Gidget Foundation Australia, 2019.
Perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA) during pregnancy and the first year after birth is a common condition and affects 1 in 5 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers in Australia. This report presents estimates on the cost of PNDA to the health system, economy and wellbeing of those impacted. In 2019, PNDA is estimated to cost $877m, such as increased use of health and social services, increased risk of chronic illness and substance abuse, increased risk of child health and developmental risks, and productivity losses from increased workforce exit, absenteeism, and carer role. These costs are substantial for both parent and child in the short to medium term and also lifetime.

Evaluating practitioner training to improve competencies and organizational practices for engaging fathers in parenting interventions.

Burn M, Tully L, Jiang Y, Piotrowska P, Collins D, Sargeant K, Hawes D, Moul C, Lenroot R, Frick P, Anderson V, Kimonis E and Dadds M
Child Psychiatry and Human Development v. 49 no. 1 Feb 2018: 230-244
Fathers are underrepresented in parenting interventions, and research has indicated that practitioner and organisational factors that may play a role. This article compares the impact of two training programs - one online, one face to face - on improving practitioner competencies and organisational practices for engaging fathers. The interventions were assessed pre-training, post-training, and after 2 months. Participants included 589 psychologists, social workers, counsellors, and other practitioners working in private, government, and non-government organisations from across Australia. Overall, the interventions produced significant improvements in several competencies and practices and reported rate of father engagement. Though both training formats were well-received, the benefits from the online format were not maintained longer term.

NSW child protection reports involving children with teenage parents in 2016-17

New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services. Insights, Analysis and Research Unit
Ashfield, NSW : FACS Insights, Analysis and Research, NSW Department of Communities and Justice, 2019.
This report presents information on the number and characteristics of children in the protection system in New South Wales in 2016-2017 with a teenage parent and identified as being at risk of significant harm. Though only 1.4% of children met this criteria, these children were more likely to be assessed as unsafe, be reported at a younger age, to have received reports across most categories of abuse and neglect, and enter out-of-home care. Nine in ten of their parents themselves had child protection involvement as a child. Differences are also noted between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teenage parents. Teenage parents are often subject to an intergenerational cycle of abuse and neglect, making their children a small but distinct and important sub-group requiring a targeted service response.

Children in out-of-home care with young parents

Hopkins J, Butler M, Shuttleworth L, Paxman M, Zhou A and Burke S
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2019.
This report looks into the number and circumstances of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teenage parents with children in out of home care in New South Wales. Using data from the Pathways of Care longitudinal study (POCLS), it investigates the association of parent age with child protection history, type of abuse, entry into care, restoration attempts, contact with children, and relationship with child, comparing parents aged 15-19 years, 20-25 years, and 26 years and over. The study found that a small but significant number of children in out of home care were born to teenage parents. These parents also had high rates of child protection involvement themselves. Restorations were successful on the first attempt for 71.9% of children with Aboriginal teenage mothers and 78% of children with non-Aboriginal teenage mothers.

Did we forget something? Fathering supports and programs in prisons in Victoria, Australia.

Bartlett T and Trotter C
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology v. 63 no. 8 2019: 1465-1481
This article investigates fathering support programs in prison in Victoria. It briefly reviews the international literature on formal fathering supports in prisons then presents findings from interviews with 39 primary carer fathers incarcerated in Victoria. The fathers were asked about the parenting supports and services that had been offered during their imprisonment, and their use of and attitudes towards such programs. Though the findings indicate that there is an absence of fathering support in Victorian prisons, they also show that fathers are looking for ways to maintain father-child relationships from prison and are open to being supported. This study is part of a broader project with incarcerated fathers in New South Wales and Victoria.

Supporting incarcerated fathers : an exploration of research and practice in Victoria, Australia.

Bartlett T
Probation Journal v. 66 no. 2 2019: 201-218
This article reviews the research on the experiences and needs of incarcerated fathers and what the evidence says about supporting father-child relationships during a father's imprisonment. It looks at the number of children with incarcerated fathers, the impact on child wellbeing, the benefits and challenges of prison visiting, supported visits and fathering units, and educational fathering programs. Research from Victoria is highlighted where available. Despite gaps in the evidence, the available research highlights the benefits of supported family visits and the importance of design and social infrastructure in the development of such programs.

Teen parents: evidence brief

Scanlen A and Hooper C
Wellington N.Z. : Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, 2019.
This paper provides an overview of the latest evidence on the issues facing teenage parents and how they can best be supported, to help inform policy and service design in New Zealand. Section One provides contextual information about teen pregnancy and parenting in New Zealand, including protective and risk factors. Section Two reviews the local and overseas research on effective support interventions, and the effectiveness of models, services, and interventions currently in place in New Zealand for teenage parents, their children, and their families and whanau. Although the teen birth rate in New Zealand is declining it remains high compared to other countries, with these parents facing greater challenges and risks for themselves and their children. The report concludes with recommendations for policy, community attitudes, and intervention.

Male callers to an Australian perinatal depression and anxiety help line - understanding issues and concerns.

Fletcher R, StGeorge J, Newman L and Wroe J
Infant Mental Health Journal 16 Sep 2019: Advance online publication
This article adds to what is known about fathers who seek help in the perinatal period, with a study of calls made to the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) National Helpline. Calls from 129 men were examined. The review found that nearly three quarters of the men were concerned about their partner's mental health and over half were concerned about relationship breakdown. Many also raised concerns about their own mental health, the impact on their relationship with their child, and adjusting to the fathering role.

Men at work : Australia's parenthood trap.

Crabb A
Quarterly Essay 1832 0953 no. 75 2019: 1-73
This essay explores how men's working lives change - or rather, don't change - when they become fathers. It begins by highlighting how successful women - from politicians to CEOs - are always asked how they manage the day to day challenges of juggling work and family demands, whereas men never are. It considers societal expectations about who'll be doing the caring, taking parental leave, or working less, and presents data on how little fatherhood affects men's actual working hours or time spent on care. The essay then considers how these attitudes could be changed. The essay does not suggest that men should be forced to work flexibly, or take parental leave. However, our culture presently puts pressure on men to not do these things, so it is a step towards freedom and equality to remove those constraints.

Against all odds? Birth fathers and enduring thoughts of the child lost to adoption.

Clapton G
Genealogy v. 3 no. 2 2019: Article 13
This article explores birth fathers' continuing connection to their children after adoption. It reviews the British and overseas literature and highlights the limited research available on how these fathers experience fatherhood and separation. Sections include: birth parents and adoption; enduring love, enduring fatherhood; the creation and maintenance of paternity; who's the daddy?; and it's only words.

Child protective services-investigated maltreatment by fathers: distinguishing characteristics and disparate outcomes

Kobulsky J and Wildfeuer R
U.S.A. : Fatherhood Research & Practice Network, 2019.
This study from America investigates whether child maltreatment by fathers differs from that perpetrated by mothers. It also examines whether child protection responses differ depending on which parent is involved. It analyses data from the second National Survey on Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II), which was conducted across 30 states within the United States. Baseline data was collected from 2008-2009, with followups at 18 months and 36 months. The study investigates the distinguishing characteristics of maltreatment attributed to fathers, mothers, and co-offending parents, and whether there differences in investigation outcomes for maltreatment attributed to fathers as compared to mothers, including caseworkers' subjective ratings of global risk, service referrals, substantiation, out-of-home placement, criminal investigations, and criminal charges filed - controlling for maltreatment characteristics and co-occurring risk factors. The findings show diversity in the risk of maltreatment attributed to fathers and suggest disparities in responses to child protection reports of maltreatment that disadvantage fathers, particularly in regard to the criminalisation of maltreatment. This study was commissioned to help inform child protection practice and to support the development of interventions for maltreating fathers and their affected children.

Child-focused social work practice in the context of family and domestic violence: understanding the impact of male violence

Dunk-West P and Wendt S
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2019.
This paper highlights the impact of family violence on children and parenting and outlines child-focused approaches to working with children and women affected by family violence as well as engaging with fathers who use violence. This paper has been written for social work students but may be of interest to other students and practitioners.

Working with fathers who use violence : highlights from the Invisible Practices project.

Hervatin M
CFCA short article Feb 2019
This article highlights the key findings of the project 'Invisible practices: intervention with fathers who use violence'. The project aimed to increase the capacity of practitioners to work with fathers who use violence and to develop evidence-based principles and practice guidelines for practitioners and organisations. Three reports have been published by ANROWS, detailing the findings and implications for practice.

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.

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

Ruppanner L, Perales F and Baxter J
Journal of Marriage and Family v. 81 no. 2 Apr 2019: 308-326
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.

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.

Trauma-informed approaches for programs serving fathers in re-entry: a review of the literature and environmental scan : a special topics study of the Parents and Children Together evaluation

Dion M
Washington, DC : Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2018.
Programs for incarcerated fathers in the United States have found that many of their participants have experienced adverse childhood experiences, which may complicate their efforts to reconnect with and support their families. This report was commissioned to investigate this issue further and whether trauma-informed programs can help. First, it investigates the types, correlates, and prevalence of traumatic experiences among fathers returning from incarceration, and the potential consequences of these traumas for fathers' parenting, economic stability, and relationships. It then looks into trauma-informed approaches, and what can be learned from programs that are implementing this approach for fathers returning from incarceration. Lastly, it examines what evidence-based trauma-specific services are available, whether they are appropriate for men returning to the community after incarceration, the facilitators of and barriers to their successful implementation, and other trauma-informed programs or services that could be adapted to meet the needs of these fathers. The report draws on a review of the literature, an environmental scan of reentry programs, and discussions with key informants.

Final evaluation report: do responsible fatherhood programs work? - a comprehensive meta-analytic study

Holmes E
U.S.A. : Fatherhood Research & Practice Network, 2018.
Responsible fatherhood programs for unmarried and nonresident fathers in America have increased in number and scope over the past decade. This paper investigates the effectiveness of these programs at increasing unmarried, low-income, nonresident fathers' positive father involvement, parenting, coparenting behavior, employment, economic prospects, and child support payments. It presents the findings of a meta-analysis of evaluation studies. The current evidence suggest these programs produce small but statistically significant effects for the populations they serve, for the outcomes of father involvement, parenting, and coparenting. This is particularly encouraging as the coparenting relationship is one of the most important predictors of nonresident father involvement.

Barriers to first time parent groups : a qualitative descriptive study.

Barrett N, Hanna L and Fitzpatrick O
Nursing & Health Sciences v. 20 no. 4 Dec 2018: 464-471
This article explores mothers' views of parenting groups, with the aim of gaining insights into why some new parents choose not to attend. Interviews were conducted with 8 first-time mothers in a regional city in Victoria, regarding barriers to participation, perceived relevance, and their thoughts on why fathers might under-represented. One particular view raised was that such support groups reinforced traditional and stereotypical gender roles, excluding fathers.

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.
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