The Father Factor

How to Help Dads with Depression

Most Recent Fatherhood Posts

Apr 6, 2021


Do you work with dads who have experienced depression?

If so, some exciting research has emerged on how the development of self-efficacy around being a good father can mitigate the effects of depression in dads. That mitigation is vital because it can improve the relationships between dads and their children.

Specifically, researchers conducted a study of more than 100 low-income dads with children enrolled in Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) programs. They found:

  • That dads’ depression had a statistically significant negative impact on their closeness to their children and on conflict with their children.
  • Parental self-efficacy (PSE)—a parent’s confidence in their ability to successfully raise their children—increased dads’ closeness with their children and reduced conflict with their children.

The researchers concluded that:.

HS/EHS services or early childhood services that aim to promote positive parenting practices and develop healthy parent-child relationships among low-income fathers should give attention to strengthening PSE in fathers.”

So, if you run or want to start a program for dads with children in Head Start, Early Head Start, or any other setting, then using an evidence-based program like the 24/7 Dad® program of National Fatherhood Initiative® can help the dads you serve develop the parenting and fathering self-efficacy that’s vital to healthy relationships between dads and their children. 24/7 Dad® has been found to increase the parenting and fathering awareness, knowledge, and self-efficacy dads need to be the best dads possible.

NFI partners with many HS and EHS programs across the country to run 24/7 Dad® and our other programs and to use our other fatherhood skill-building materials. Take Dads in Action, for example. It’s a program of the Monterey County (CA) Office of Education’s Head Start Program. Dads in Action uses 24/7 Dad® to serve Head Start dads and dads in the larger community. The 24/7 Dad® facilitators appreciate several aspects of the program’s curriculum. As Dads in Action coordinator Alvaro Suarez once told me:

[The curriculum] definitely provides dads with information developed with fathers’ perspectives in mind. It’s a bridge between fathers and mothers, such as with co-parenting. It lets fathers know about their role in their child’s life and the importance of fathers being present. The curriculum facilitates conversations that are difficult to have. It’s unique in that it opens dialogue with fathers. The thing it does best is it definitely gives fathers a unique voice—the content voices a lot of concerns dads think about but might not say or be comfortable talking about—like co-parenting and domestic violence—by facilitating conversations.”

Are you interested in exploring the range of NFI’s evidence- and research-based programs that can help you build dads’ parenting and fathering self-efficacy? Click here to learn more.

Are you interested in exploring NFI’s online, on-demand program Fathering in 15™ that dads can access anywhere, anytime, and on any device? Click here to learn more.

he Benefits of Fatherhood Programs in Community-Based Organizations

Topics: Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, General Fatherhood Research & Studies

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