Degree Date

6-2020

Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Tiffeny Jimenez

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a father involvement intervention on fathers in the Chicago area and what encourages fathers to be involved with their children. This study explored what factors are most predictive of involvement in their child's life. Overall, the study uses secondary data from a sample of existing survey and focus groups with men of mostly lower income status that may or may not be incarcerated. Study 1 included 41 men over the age of 18, who participated in programs provided by the Salvation Army in the Chicago area. Study 1 found that father perception of personal growth was the only significant variable indicating that fathers who felt they experience personal growth, as a result of being involved in their child's life, also wanted to be more involved in their child's life in the upcoming years. The purpose of study 2 was to determine influences, benefits, and personal growth factors that occurred for men who experienced an intervention designed to support father development. Study 2 enhanced the findings from survey data used from study 1, by means of adding results from qualitative analysis of the focus groups to assist in understanding how fatherhood development interventions influence fathers. Main findings of study 2 demonstrated how a fatherhood intervention led to: 1) better relationships, 2) development of new understandings of what it means to the importance of what it means be a father, 3) the importance of empathic communication, 4) the value of practice-based learning and participation with a group of fathers, 5) shifts in their personal growth, and 6) the value of comradery among a group of other fathers. This qualitative study adds new knowledge to the literature in the father's own words regarding what leads to personal growth among fathers and how it can influence their relationship with their children and families.

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