Pathways to Prevention: Improving Nonresident African American Fathers' Parenting Skills and Behaviors to Reduce Sons' Aggression


  • This research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through Grant R06/CCR521580 to the first author. Partial support also was provided through the Community Foundation of Flint, MI. The authors would like to thank members of the Project's Steering Committee for their insightful and dedicated work on this project, and the many fathers and sons who participated in the study.


This study describes a test of the Fathers and Sons Program for increasing intentions to avoid violence and reducing aggressive behaviors in 8- to 12-year-old African American boys by enhancing the parenting skills satisfaction and parenting behaviors of their nonresident fathers. The study included 158 intervention and 129 comparison group families. Structural equation model results indicated that the intervention was effective for improving fathers' parenting skills satisfaction, which was positively associated with sons' satisfaction with paternal engagement. Sons' paternal engagement satisfaction was positively associated with their intentions to avoid violence. Although aggressive behaviors were lower for comparison group sons, the intervention effectively reduced sons' aggressive behaviors indirectly by enhancing fathers' parenting behaviors. Support for family-centered youth violence prevention efforts is discussed.