The proposed stage 1 intervention development study is designed to address two significant co-occurring issues for fathers with substance abuse (SA) problems: Intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM). SA treatment programs are an important avenue to reduce family violence because SA treatment alone does not result in an end to these behaviors. Currently available interventions have had little success in reducing male IPV. Fathers for Change, an integrated outpatient intervention, shows promise as an intervention model targeting the intersection of SA, IPV, and CM. The intervention uses men's roles as fathers as a motivation for change and targets factors that are known to trigger SA, IPV and CM: hostile cognitions and poor emotion regulation. An intervention of this sort has not been integrated and tested as part of a residential substance abuse program for men. This project will have four phases following the psychotherapy development guidelines: (a) Adaptation of the outpatient manual for Fathers for Change for integration in residential SA treatment and aftercare; (b) Open trial of Fathers for Change with 10 fathers in residential SA treatment, (c) Completion of a training manual and fidelity tools, and (d) A pilot study of 60 fathers randomly assigned to Fathers for Change or a Parent Education Program (PE) comparison. The initial feasibility of the Fathers for Change will be assessed by comparing it to PE in the areas of: participant completion rates, hostile cognitions, emotion regulation, SA relapse, IPV, and CM risk behaviors (negative parenting). Change in hostile cognitions and emotion regulation will be examined as the mechanisms through which Fathers for Change reduces relapse, IPV and CM risk behaviors. If Fathers for Change demonstrates efficacy in reducing hostile cognitions and negative emotion regulation leading to reduce SA, IPV and CM, the intervention can readily be integrated into residential SA care facilities. Reductions in IPV and drug relapse will have major public health and criminal justice implications. The initial findings of this R34 will provide justification for a Stage II RCT of Faters for Change in residential settings treating court mandated clients in FL.

Public Health Relevance

Intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM) commonly co-occur with substance abuse (SA); this trifecta of problems represents significant and preventable public health issues impacting millions of families each year in the United States. This intervention development project will explore an innovative fatherhood focused approach to IPV and CM within a residential substance abuse treatment program that can improve physical and mental health outcomes for children and families exposed to violence.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Planning Grant (R34)
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Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
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Aklin, Will
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University of South Florida
Other Health Professions
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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