, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 27-32

Psychosocial assessment of expectant fathers

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Background: Comprehensive antenatal psychosocial assessment of mothers prior to the birth is established in many regions. While the influence of fathers on infant and maternal well-being is also recognised as commencing before birth, the early identification of needs among expectant fathers has not been addressed.

Methods: The current study surveyed fathers attending antenatal classes in public and private hospitals (n = 307) in New South Wales, Australia, using psychosocial questions derived from the questions commonly asked in assessments of mothers.

Results: The most frequent responses suggest that fathers, at the time of the birth, have needs in regard to their ability to cope with the stresses of new parenthood and the skills and knowledge to care for their new baby.

Limitations: Conclusions from the study are limited in their application to the population of expectant fathers by the low response rate and the low numbers of low-income, ethnic-background, and indigenous fathers in the sample.

Conclusion: Assessment of fathers by psychosocial questions similar to mothers is advised to detect fathers who may require assistance and parenting education for fathers in infant care.

Correspondence: R. Fletcher, Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia