Abstract: Participation Dosage in Key to Kã„Â�Ne - a Pilot Text-Messaging Intervention for Fathers (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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Participation Dosage in Key to Kã„Â�Ne - a Pilot Text-Messaging Intervention for Fathers

Friday, January 22, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Selva Lewin-Bizan, PhD, Part-time faculty, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
David Mattos, Fatherhood Program Supervisor and Facilitator, Maui Family Support Services, Wailuku, HI
Edeluisa Maguio-Larena, M.A., Chief Executive Officer, Maui Family Support Services, Inc., Wailuku, HI
Background and Purpose: Given the evidence that involved fatherhood benefits children, interventions have been designed to encourage men to take an active role in their children’s lives. However, considering that fathers’ scheduling conflicts are barriers to participation in face-to-face interventions, other interventions have been developed. Key to Kāne is a pilot text-messaging intervention for fathers of children ages 0-12, delivered in Hawaii. Because we are not aware of studies that have looked at fathers’ characteristics as predictors of participation dosage, and because only a small number of studies have sought to understand dosage effects, the goals of this study were to examine (a) whether characteristics of fathers predict the extent to which fathers read text messages (i.e., reading dosage) and (b) whether different reading dosages deferentially affect father engagement.

Methods: Key to Kāne was created through an interdisciplinary collaboration between a researcher, a fatherhood practitioner, and a phone application programmer. The 12-week intervention focuses on three topics: information about normative child development, concrete ideas for fathers on ways to become engaged with their children, and encouragement of men in their role as fathers. A total of 120 participants enrolled. They responded to a self-report survey, which included measures such as the Father Engagement Scale (FRPN, 2017, α=.85-.96) at enrollment (n=119) and at intervention completion (n=87). We also collected qualitative data about experiences with the intervention through three focus groups (n=18).

Results: (a) A chi-squared test and an ordered logistic regression were used to test whether characteristics of fathers predict reading dosage. We found that (1) Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander fathers have the lowest reading dosage, (2) there is an inverse relationship between the number of children the fathers have and reading dosage, and (3) fathers with more personal challenges are less active in the intervention. (b) A one-way repeated-measure ANOVA and post hoc analyses were used to assess whether different reading dosages deferentially affect father engagement. We found no statistically significant results. (c) A preliminary examination of the qualitative data indicates that the intervention was useful for some men in that they (1) perceived changes in their involvement with their children, and (2) enjoyed the intervention format.

Conclusions and Implications: First, our findings constitute evidence that different characteristics of fathers elicit more active or less active participation in interventions. Second, contrary to the expectation based on previous research findings, our findings do not provide evidence that higher reading dosage encourages fathers’ engagement. The discrepancy may be associated with participants’ individual needs and initial levels of engagement. Third, initial analysis of our qualitative data indicated that some men noticed positive changes in their parenting behaviors, valued receiving parenting information directly on their cell phones, and would like to meet with other fathers either face-to-face or online. Taken together, these preliminary qualitative findings indicate a potential benefit of Key to Kāne being embedded within another intervention. It appears that texting interventions could be an effective tool for delivering fatherhood information, and continues to be a promising avenue for future research and practice.