‘Working Out Dads’ to promote men’s mental and physical health in early fatherhood: A mixed-methods evaluation

on 28 May 2020

Rebecca Giallo, Le Ann Williams, Monique Seymour, Chris Jillard, Ryan Peace, Jacquie O’Brien, Kirsty Evans, Stephanie Brown & Catherine Wood

Mental and physical health problems are common during early fatherhood. The current study aimed to assess a broad range of mental, physical and social outcomes for fathers of young children (aged 0–4 years) participating in a pilot evaluation of ‘Working Out Dads’ (WOD). These results were complemented by a nested qualitative study capturing the perceived outcomes for fathers.

The sample consisted of 53 fathers who completed pre-, post- and 3-month follow-up measures. There were significant reductions in psychological distress, depression, anxiety and stress from pre- to post-intervention, which were maintained at 3-month follow-up. There were significant improvements in perceived vitality levels across all time points, and improvements in general physical health, social support and parenting self-efficacy from pre- to the 3-month follow-up.

The nested qualitative results revealed that fathers and their partners perceived positive changes to paternal health, social support, parenting and the couple relationship. These findings contribute to the evidence-base for interventions targeting fathers’ health in the early years of their children’s lives. The current findings will be used to inform further development of WOD.

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