Session: Enhancing Services to Meet the Needs of Men Around the Period of Their Childís Birth (Society for Social Work and Research 21st Annual Conference - Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth)

200 Enhancing Services to Meet the Needs of Men Around the Period of Their Childís Birth

Schedule:
Saturday, January 14, 2017: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
La Galeries 4 (New Orleans Marriott)
Cluster: Gender
Symposium Organizer:
Tova Walsh, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The transition to parenthood is an exciting and challenging time, precipitating changes in identity, roles, and responsibilities. Gender roles inform experiences of and context for this transition, and gender roles are rapidly evolving. Research on the nature and salience of the transition to parenthood for fathers lags behind that on mothers, creating a significant knowledge gap. The four papers in this symposium address important aspects of the nature and context of the transition to parenthood for men, illuminating specific support needs and providing evidence to inform perinatal services that are more responsive to the needs of diverse fathers and more likely to yield sustained benefits for fathers and their families.

Whereas fatherhood studies frequently rely on homogeneous samples of predominantly Caucasian, married men of higher socio-economic status, the first two papers use data collected from a nationally representative sample of young men.  The first paper addresses an important knowledge gap by examining young men’s knowledge of typical infant development, factors associated with men’s knowledge, and whether knowledge is associated with risk for child maltreatment. Fathers knew significantly more than non-fathers, but overall young men answered only about half of the questions about typical development correctly, suggesting the importance of providing anticipatory guidance to expectant and new fathers about developmentally appropriate expectations for infants. The second paper examines the prevalence of paternal presence at prenatal ultrasounds and factors associated with paternal presence. Overall, 88% of fathers reported being present at a prenatal ultrasound for their youngest child, while fathers were less likely to report presence at ultrasound if they were unmarried or had lower educational attainment. Widespread presence of fathers at ultrasound suggests that ultrasound appointments present an ideal opportunity for social workers to provide information and support and engage fathers in any needed services.

The third paper examines risk and resilience factors that contribute to prenatal bonding and child abuse potential in a sample of parents exposed to environmental adversity, and reveals that different factors may be associated with positive prenatal bonding in fathers versus mothers. Results indicate that social workers should attend to fathers’ histories of child maltreatment as a factor that may inhibit paternal bonding. The fourth paper uses structural equation modeling to assess the effect of prenatal involvement on later father involvement, using multiple indicators of involvement. This enriched approach to examining the long-term effects of prenatal involvement yields findings that prenatal involvement does have enduring effects, but the impact of prenatal involvement may weaken over time. Consequently, programs that focus on prenatal father involvement may be able to enhance family outcomes through longer-term follow-up.

There is little available evidence to guide social work practice with men. Though becoming a father is a major transition for men, with implications for motivations for change, this knowledge gap extends to the period surrounding the birth of a child. This symposium presents essential, empirical evidence to inform strategies and interventions to improve men’s engagement in services around the birth of their child, and to enhance outcomes for fathers and families.

* noted as presenting author
What Young Men Know about Babies, and Why It Matters
Shawna J. Lee, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Vijay Singh, MD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Tova Walsh, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Richard Tolman, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Expectant Fathers' Presence at Ultrasound: Opportunity for Engagement
Tova Walsh, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Richard Tolman, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Shawna J. Lee, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Vijay Singh, MD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Prenatal Bonding and Child Abuse Potential: Risk and Resilience in Vulnerable, Pregnant Mothers and Fathers
Carolyn J. Dayton, PhD, Wayne State University; Laurel M. Hicks, MSW, Wayne State University; Jessica L. Goletz, BA, Wayne State University; Suzanne Brown, PhD, Wayne State University
The Long-Term Effects of Prenatal Father Involvement
Kevin Shafer, PhD, Brigham Young University; Nicole Wooley, BS, Brigham Young University
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