Many fathers are unprepared for the stressors accompanying divorce that disrupt their effective parenting skills. Divorce rates remain high and fathers are gaining more custodial responsibilities than in the past, yet divorced fathers remain a vastly underserved population for which very few evidence-based programs even exist. There is great need for more specified work on translating effective programs and technologies for divorced fathers and for underserved Spanish speaking divorced fathers. Quality involvement of divorced fathers is associated with positive cognitive, social, and emotional outcomes for children from infancy to adolescence. Lack of effective programs for divorced fathers and for fathers of diverse backgrounds continues to be a problem. Programs to reduce stress and promote better fathering are vitally important because quality involvement is associated with better-adjusted children, better-adjusted mothers, and reduced co-parental conflict over time. Predicated on evidence-based programs, the central goal of this project is to create an online interactive resource for divorced fathers called Fathering through Change (FTC), a media-intensive skill- building program that will promote quality involvement of fathers with their children. Program content will focus on parenting skills, problem solving and communication skills, emotion regulation, and conflict reduction strategies. Fathering through Change will address a needed gap in community and court systems. Additionally, an identified need and important innovation will be the development of both English and Spanish language versions of the FTC program. Phase I specific aims are to develop the first three program modules, the foundational building blocks for the full program, including components on fathering in the context of divorce, effective limit setting, and regulating emotions. We will produce English and professionally dubbed Spanish versions of Phase I FTC components. Both feasibility of implementation (i.e., acceptability, engagement, fidelity) and feasibility of efficacy will be evaluated with 50 divorced fathers using pre-post assessment of benchmark outcomes. In Phase II we will complete the remaining three modules of FTC in English and Spanish, and will conduct a large-scale randomized control trial comparing of the complete FTC program to a wait-list control group.
Divorced fathers and their children are at elevated risk for health and behavioral problems associated with divorce. Evidence based programs for fathers are lacking. The aim of this proposal is to develop a parenting intervention for fathers who have been divorced within the last two years that would teach parenting skills, problem solving and communication skills, emotion regulation, and conflict reduction strategies. Programs to reduce stress and promote quality involvement with children and former spouses are important because involvement is associated with better-adjusted children, better-adjusted mothers, and reduced co-parental conflict over time. Societal benefits include higher rates of compliance with child support obligations and lower rates of litigation and re-litigation.