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Process evaluation of text-based support for fathers during the transition to fatherhood (SMS4dads): mechanisms of impact

Fletcher, Richard, Knight, Tess, Macdonald, Jacqui A. and StGeorge, Jennifer 2019, Process evaluation of text-based support for fathers during the transition to fatherhood (SMS4dads): mechanisms of impact, BMC psychology, vol. 7, no. 1, doi: 10.1186/s40359-019-0338-4.

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Title Process evaluation of text-based support for fathers during the transition to fatherhood (SMS4dads): mechanisms of impact
Author(s) Fletcher, Richard
Knight, TessORCID iD for Knight, Tess orcid.org/0000-0002-9231-9582
Macdonald, Jacqui A.ORCID iD for Macdonald, Jacqui A. orcid.org/0000-0001-9451-2709
StGeorge, Jennifer
Journal name BMC psychology
Volume number 7
Issue number 1
Article ID 63
Total pages 11
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2019-09-13
ISSN 2050-7283
Keyword(s) Fathers
Mechanisms
Process evaluation
Qualitative
Text-based
Summary BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence for the value of technology-based programs to support fathers to make positive transitions across the perinatal period. However, past research has focused on program outcomes with little attention to the mechanisms of impact. Knowledge of why a program works increases potential for replication across contexts. METHODS: Participants were 40 Australian fathers enrolled in the SMS4dads text-based perinatal support program (Mean age 35.11 (5.87). From a starting point between 16 weeks gestation and 12 weeks postpartum, they were sent a maximum of 184 text messages. An inductive approach was used to analyse post-program semi-structured interviews. The aim was to identify mechanisms of impact aligned to previously identified program outcomes, which were that SMS4dads: 1) is helpful/useful; 2) lessens a sense of isolation; 3) promotes the father-infant relationship; and 4) supports the father-partner relationship. RESULTS: We identified two types of mechanisms: four were structural within the program messages and five were psychological within the participant. The structural mechanisms included: syncing information to needs; normalisation; prompts to interact; and, the provision of a safety net. The psychological mechanisms were: increase in knowledge; feelings of confidence; ability to cope; role orientation; and, the feeling of being connected. These mechanisms interacted with each other to produce the pre-identified program outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: If the current findings are generalisable then, future mobile health program design and evaluation would benefit from explicit consideration to how both program components and individual cognitive and behavioural processes combine to elicit targeted outcomes.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s40359-019-0338-4
Indigenous content off
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2019, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30130242

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.