Fathers’ perspectives on engaging with web-based parenting programs for adolescent mental health: A qualitative study

Ashlyn Hansen, Catherine Wade, Marie BH Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Growing evidence substantiates the unique contribution made by fathers to adolescent mental health and the potential for them to benefit from preventive parenting programs. Nevertheless, male parents are markedly under-represented amongst users of these programs. This extends to programs delivered online, despite the increased flexibility and accessibility of web-based platforms which may better suit the needs of fathers. Therefore, this study aimed to explore perspectives of fathers on the lack of father engagement with web-based preventive parenting programs for adolescent mental health. Method: We conducted semi-structured interviews with fifteen Australian fathers of an adolescent aged 12-18 years, who had never used a web-based parenting program for adolescent mental health. An iterative thematic qualitative approach was used. Participants were aged between 42 and 57 years (M = 49.0, SD = 4.3) and living in Melbourne, Australia. Results: Thematic analysis identified four broad themes which may deter their use of web-based parenting programs: 1) limited awareness of these programs, 2) perceptions that limit motivation to use them, 3) uncertainty about their role in parenting for adolescent mental health, and 4) design aspects of programs. Conclusion: Our findings indicated that strategies which address practical barriers to accessing programs alone are unlikely to enhance fathers’ engagement. Findings from this study provide feasible avenues for developing and implementing father-inclusive web-based parenting programs. Adopting these solutions can potentially address parenting factors amongst fathers with a view to improving adolescent mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200232
Number of pages9
JournalMental Health & Prevention
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Fathers
  • Mental health
  • Parenting
  • Prevention

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