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Strengthening New Fathers' Skills in Interaction With Their 5-Month-Old Infants: Who Benefits From a Brief Intervention?


Dr. Karen Benzies, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Objectives: To determine the utility of a parenting education program for fathers of infants, and to determine which fathers benefited.

Design: Fathers' perceptions of the program's utility were captured in a brief, structured interview. Using secondary data analysis, pretest/posttest father-infant interaction scores of fathers who improved were compared with those of fathers who did not. Demographic predictors of improvement were identified using multiple regression.

Sample: Community sample of 81 adult, English-speaking, primarily European Canadian, first-time fathers of 5-month-old infants, who participated in the intervention group of a randomized controlled trial.

Intervention: When infants were 5 and 6 months old, videotaped self-modeling and positive feedback about father-infant interaction were provided by specially trained nurses.

Measurements: Father-infant interaction was assessed at baseline (5 months) and outcome (8 months) using the Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scale.

Results: Fathers found the program useful, indicating that their needs for educational programs are different from mothers. Controlling for baseline interactions, demographic variables did not significantly predict fathers' outcome interactions.

Conclusions: The program may prove useful in public health settings where implementing programs for fathers of infants is a priority. Future research needs to explore other predictors to identify fathers who will benefit from the program.