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Res Nurs Health. 1997 Aug;20(4):281-93.

Expectant fathers: influence of perinatal education on stress, coping, and spousal relations.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Nursing 53792, USA.


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to compare the effects of father-focused discussion perinatal classes with traditional childbirth classes on expectant fathers' stress/psychological symptom status, coping strategies, social support, and spousal relations (both supportive behavior toward their partners and couple-conflict behavior). Relative to fathers in traditional childbirth classes, those in father-focused discussion classes significantly increased their use of reasoning during conflicts and their housework activity. Both groups of fathers reported a significant increase in social network support and an increase in baby/pregnancy-related activity. Neither group substantially increased their overall coping responses, although men in the father-focused group significantly changed their coping efforts by seeking more social support, particularly getting information and emotional support from their partner's physician. Implications for perinatal education practice are discussed, and suggestions for future research are offered.

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