The number of children living apart from their fathers has grown nationally, and the
greatest percentage is evident among African American (AA) families; two-thirds of all
African American children live in households without their biological father. Research
supports the importance of positive fathering in the lives of children. But in order for
children to benefit from their fathers' involvement, the father-child relationship must be
timely and sustained. This study will test culturally relevant interventions aimed at
increasing non-resident (not living with the child) AA fathers' involvement with their
The purpose of this competing continuation study is to test the efficacy of the core
9-session BBTF program (held over12-weeks) on: (1) improving father outcomes (psychological
well-being, relationship quality with the child's mother, parenting competence); (2)
father-mother relationship quality; (3) father involvement (material support, in-kind
support, direct father-child interaction); and (4) child outcomes (behavioral, social,
emotional). The study will use an experimental design and randomly assign 180 AA fathers who
are not currently involved with the criminal justice system and their 2-5 year old children
to the BBTF or an attention control condition and assess outcomes at baseline, 12 weeks, and
24 weeks. Custodial mothers of the children will be recruited to concurrently complete child
outcome measures, measures of father-mother relationship quality, and father involvement
The specific aims and hypotheses are as follows:
Aim 1: Test the direct effects of the 9-session BBTF program on: (1) father's outcomes
(psychological well-being, parenting competence, and communication and problem solving) and
(2) paternal involvement (material support, in-kind support, and direct father-child
interaction), controlling for father characteristics (demographics, history of criminal
justice system involvement, social support) and child characteristics (age, gender).
Hypothesis 1: BBTF program fathers will report better father outcomes and greater paternal
involvement than the attention control group at 12 weeks and 24 weeks.
Aim 2: Test the mediating effects of father-mother relationship and father outcomes on
paternal involvement across the two conditions. Hypothesis 2: Father-mother relationship
quality and father outcomes will mediate intervention effects on paternal involvement.
Aim 3: Compare the effects of the BBTF program, controlling for father outcomes,
father-mother relationship, and paternal involvement on child outcomes (behavioral,
emotional/social development) as compared to the attention control group. Hypothesis 3a:
BBTF children will have improved child outcomes relative to the control group at 12 weeks
and 24 weeks. Hypothesis 3b: Child outcomes will be mediated by improvements in father
outcomes, paternal involvement and father-mother relationship.
- AA biological father of a child 2 to 5 years old
- Child lives with father no more than 48 hours per week (e.g., spends the weekends
with his or her father)
- The child lives with the biological mother (or other custodial relative such as
grandmother) in the metropolitan Chicago area.
- These fathers are referred to as AA non-resident fathers. Additional criteria
include: (1) child's mother is willing to consent to complete the child assessments;
- Child's mother is amenable to facilitating opportunities for fathers to interact
with their children in order to practice skills learned in the program
- Father is able and willing to travel to one of two intervention sites to attend a
- The study is limited to fathers with a target child aged 2-5 years.
- The rationale for this limit is based on the developmental phase when families are
most vulnerable to decreased father involvement and children are highly dependent on
parenting for their growth and development.
- Fathers with histories of child abuse, neglect, or violence perpetuated against the
child or the child's mother (based on mother or father report).