Fatherhood Research Bulletin

Fatherhood Research Bulletin June 2016 compressed

Dear colleagues


This special edition is focused on the SMS4dads project, an approach to supporting new fathers through their mobile phones. The feasibility study tested whether dads would sign up, stay the course and use the information and links provided in the short texts. The final results are not in but more than 500 men whose partners are pregnant or who have recently become fathers have joined up. The drop-out rate is low and the feedback from the men and their partners is very encouraging.

Testing the acceptability of a new approach to reaching dads is the first step. We also wish to know what the effects are. The randomised controlled trial of SMS4dads that is about to commence is also described in this edition and the trial with defence force families through Defence Health insurance. The SMS4dads follow-on study in Queensland will target fathers and mothers where the mother is engaged with mental health services. In another follow-on study, SMS4dads&mums, sending messages to both parents is being investigated particularly in relation to their parenting partnership. In this study the texts are supplemented by video material to illustrate coparenting opportunities.

As you would guess the development of such a wide ranging suite of projects requires input from many people. The history, starting with the Movember call for large grants in 2013, has involved more than 100 researchers and clinicians and the momentum shows no signs of slowing. In this Bulletin we announce the creation of a SMS4dads PhD scholarship and in July the first Symposium on Fatherhood Research in Australia will take place.

Whatever your connection with fathers we hope that the SMS4dads project will encourage you to find effective ways to link fathers to support for the sake of the fathers, their children and their partners.

Richard Fletcher, Editor