Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice About Men as Fathers
Responsible fathering programs address a range of obstacles to involvement; however, most concentrate on employment and co-parenting to the exclusion of men's mental health needs. Depression not only directly interferes with parent involvement, it also impacts employment and relationships. The goal of this paper was to determine the level of depressive symptoms presented at program intake by 120 men who participated in two different responsible fathering programs, and to examine the relationship between levels of depressive symptoms, other assessed needs, and treatment plans. One-third of the sample expressed clinically high levels of depressive symptoms. Further, both high and medium levels of depressive symptoms were related to other assessed employment, co-parenting, and health needs. Unfortunately this was not reflected in treatment plans. We suggest fathering programs routinely screen participants for mental health needs, and include these results in treatment plans that are both comprehensive and individualized. We further recommend the addition of cognitive behavioral therapeutic elements to fathering programs. (Author abstract)
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