Urban fathers' involvement in their child's health and healthcare

Craig F. Garfield*, Anthony J. Isacco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Despite the known positive child outcomes associated with father involvement, how fathers are involved in the health and healthcare of their children is largely unexplored. This qualitative study conducted interviews with a subsample of fathers from the national Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study to explore fathers' perceptions of their involvement in their child's health and healthcare. Using an integration of Grounded Theory and Consensual Qualitative Research qualitative methodologies, results indicated that fathers reported being involved in their child's health through encouraging healthy eating and exercise, monitoring their child's well-being and development, and understanding their child so they know how to respond when their child becomes sick. Some fathers also expressed "messing up", not adhering to medical advice, and lacking confidence in the healthcare setting. This study concluded that fathers are involved in their child's health in ways that promote child health and well-being as well as respond to acute care situations. Findings were applied to models of father involvement and led to an expanded conceptualization of father involvement. Health professionals are encouraged to educate and support fathers regarding proper medical care of children and to increase fathers' self-efficacy in this involvement domain through parenting education and active support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-48
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Child well being
  • Consensual Qualitative Research
  • Father involvement
  • Fathers
  • Grounded Theory
  • Health
  • Healthcare
  • Urban fathers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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