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New measure for fathers of children with developmental challenges

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Abstract

Background

There is a relative lack of measures tailored to the study of fathers of children with developmental challenges (DCs). The goal of the current study was to create and validate a brief measure designed to capture the perceptions and experiences of these fathers. The Fathers of Children with Developmental Challenges (FCDC) questionnaire was designed to assess fathers' perceptions of the supports for, and challenges to, their efforts to be involved in the rearing of their children.

Method

Participants were 101 fathers of children with DCs who completed an online survey. Scale validation included tests to determine reliability, validity and factor structure. Used to establish validity were measures of parenting stress, parenting commitment, parent personality and child social-communicative skills.

Results

Analyses indicated that the FCDC is reliable (α = 0.89), demonstrates content validity, construct validity and acts in theoretically expected ways. Factor analysis on the 20-item measure yielded two sub-scales: (1) impact on parenting, and (2) involvement with child intervention.

Conclusions

The FCDC fills a gap in the literature by offering an easy-to-administer self-report measure of fathers' perceptions of supports for, and barriers to, their involvement with their children with DCs. The FCDC could assist professionals in delivering support services specifically for fathers of children with DCs.

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