Session: Mobile-Based and Video Conferencing Interventions to Improve Child Engagement Outcomes for Diverse Low-Income, Non-Resident, and Incarcerated Fathers (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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235 Mobile-Based and Video Conferencing Interventions to Improve Child Engagement Outcomes for Diverse Low-Income, Non-Resident, and Incarcerated Fathers

Friday, January 22, 2021: 3:45 PM-4:45 PM
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Symposium Organizer:
Mark Trahan, PhD, Texas State University
Joyce Lee, MS, University of Michigan
Within the context of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 global pandemic, social relationships have become increasingly reliant upon electronic communication. Within the field of parenting and health, technology-based interventions have demonstrated evidence of boosting child health outcomes and may be particularly effective for reaching low-income, incarcerated, and non-resident fathers. However, the use of technology-based interventions to fatherhood related practice has rarely been evaluated. This symposium is necessary because of the importance of effectiveness and implementation of technology-based interventions for the purpose of engaging fathers during social distancing measures and increasing child engagement for low income, non-resident, and incarcerated fathers.

The first study is a randomized control trial utilizing mixed methods to evaluate the addition of text messaging to increase participation, engagement, and retention in a responsible fatherhood program with low income, non-resident fathers (n = 224). Results did not show a statistically significant difference between treatment and control. However, qualitative data indicated that the text messaging did reinforce the skills from the program, connect participants to the program, and increased mental well-being.

The second study used a quasi-experimental mixed methods design to evaluate predictors of dosage and dosage effectiveness of a pilot text messaging father program for Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian fathers. Results indicated that number of children and personal challenges were associated with dosage, but dosage did not determine effectiveness. However, qualitative data indicated that fathers found the intervention useful if they perceived changes in their parenting involvement and enjoyed the intervention format. Evidence from the first and second studies point to using text messaging as an addition to fatherhood related programs.

The third study systematically reviewed content from mobile based parenting apps to determine representation of evidence-based parenting information for low-income fathers. Utilizing a content comprehensiveness and user rating analysis, results indicated that factors such as parenting stress, mental health, substance abuse, co-parenting relationships, and financial stability were underrepresented in currently available mobile applications. The review found no applications tailored to culturally diverse fathers.

The fourth study is an evaluation of implementation of a video conferencing intervention for incarcerated fathers to facilitate in home video visits between parents and children during incarceration. Reasons for unsuccessful video visits included technological challenges (e.g., going over the time allowed), poor father-caregiver relationship quality, and multiple children living across households. Qualitative data indicated that the intervention was positively received, including benefits of improved father-child communication by avoiding of "Plexiglass visits".

Overall, results from these technology-based studies to increase father involvement indicate that mobile-based applications and video conferencing could be an effective adjunctive intervention for fathers. Such interventions should not replace in-person responsible fatherhood services or interventions. Current technology-based and video conferencing interventions could benefit from increased acceptability and usability research, as it appears that format and platform may influence the effectiveness of these interventions.

Discussant: A doctoral student at the University of Michigan, the discussant has experience in developing a mobile phone parent education program for low-income fathers. She has also conducted research using data from social media platforms such as Twitter to study parenting attitudes.

* noted as presenting author
“They Kept Me Steadyã¢â‚¬Â�: A Mixed Method Study of a Texting Interventions for Men Enrolled in a Responsible Fatherhood Program
Anna Hayward, PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Amy Hammock, PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Alexander McKillop, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Houlin Hong, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Participation Dosage in Key to Kã„Â�Ne - a Pilot Text-Messaging Intervention for Fathers
Selva Lewin-Bizan, PhD, Boston College; David Mattos, Maui Family Support Services; Edeluisa Maguio-Larena, M.A., Maui Family Support Services, Inc.
Mobile Applications for Low-Income Fathers: A Systematic Content and Comprehensiveness Analysis and User Rating Review
Mark Trahan, PhD, Texas State University; Lindsay Schneider, BSW, Southwest Texas State University
“Hi Dad. Look at Me!� Keeping Fathers and Children Connected with Video Visits during Incarceration
Pajarita Charles, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kerrie Fanning, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Sarah Jensen, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Margaret Kerr, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Michael Massoglia, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jennifer Wirth, University of Wisconsin
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