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Child Care Health Dev. 2008 Jul;34(4):439-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2008.00811.x. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

The evaluation of tailored and web-based information for new fathers.

Author information

1
Family Action Centre, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, Australia. richard.fletcher@newcastle.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Information and advice on infant health and development have been shown to be well received by new parents and to lead to more confident and nurturing parenting. However, in spite of the accumulating evidence highlighting the importance of fathers to the well-being of their families, fathers rarely access and utilize 'parenting' information. Tailored information for fathers delivered via email and Internet may provide an alternate route for support for fathers. This study aimed to assess father's readiness to utilize electronic information tailored to father's role.

METHODS:

Two hundred and fifty-three fathers from antenatal classes in two Australian cities were offered email and web-based information on seven topics: baby play, breastfeeding, post-natal depression, father-infant bonding, sex after birth, work-family balance and fussy babies. Of 137 who completed consent forms, a total of 105 fathers selected three topics and 67 fathers provided 149 topic evaluations.

RESULTS:

Most respondents were from managerial, professional or skilled occupations and had higher educational qualifications than the general population of fathers. The most popular topics were those that related to father-infant interaction (baby games and father-infant bonding), and the least popular were breastfeeding and sex after the birth. Respondents rated the information as satisfactory and most (78%) indicated that it changed their approach to fathering. Although the websites provided were available through the Internet, few fathers had previously accessed them.

CONCLUSIONS:

Information tailored to new father's perspectives provided through email or Internet may increase new fathers' access to useful knowledge and support. Important health topics such as breastfeeding may not currently be perceived as particularly relevant to fathers in the antenatal period. Portals designed to filter existing websites could facilitate the use of parenting information by new fathers.

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