Methods. Eligibility criteria for participants included an adult male (i.e., 18 years or older) who was a father of at least one biological child under the age of 19 and had household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Participants were recruited from 9 cities in Ohio. 252 fathers at 17 sites were randomly assigned to two groups, 137 fathers to a five-week fatherhood program and 115 to control group. The primary endpoint was the quantity and quality of father-child interactions 3 months after the intervention. We used a mixed ANOVA and structural equation models to test our hypotheses.
Results. The results of mixed ANOVA revealed that the intervention group showed greater improvement in the quality of father-child interactions, parenting efficacy, and coparenting relationship. The results of structural equation modeling identified two mediators that help to explain the intervention effects: The treatment had positive effects on parenting efficacy and coparenting, which in turn were positively associated with both quantity and quality of father-child interactions. The results revealed no moderation effects for residential status and fathers’ challenges.
Conclusions and Implications. Fathers who participated in the fatherhood program reported improvement in the quality of relationship with their child, the mother of their child, and confidence in their parenting ability over time. Although the program participation did not necessarily increase the levels of father-child interactions over time, it appears that TYRO Dads program was successful in improving the relationship with the child’s mother and parenting efficacy.