About The Project

An international team of researchers, led by Professor Mark Dadds at the University of Sydney, has been awarded $2.6 million by the Movember Foundation for the Like Father Like Son Project. This three year project aims to bring together a national collaboration of health researchers, clinicians, policy leaders and consumer groups with the aim of improving the rates of father participation in parenting programs.

Childhood behaviour problems are a key risk factor for later antisocial behavior and violence, as well as other adult mental health issues. The key to stopping the intergenerational transmission of these problems is through healthy parenting. Evidence-based parenting programs are effective in reducing the early signs of violence and antisocial behaviour, but fathers are much less likely to participate than mothers. Importantly, research tells us that parenting programs are more effective when fathers participate.

This project will investigate a range of innovative strategies for enhancing participation of fathers in evidence-based programs and services for childhood behaviour problems at the national level. We will conduct surveys and focus groups for fathers about their preferences for content and delivery methods as well as surveys for clinicians about their experiences in working with fathers. These surveys and focus groups will inform the development of key strategies in the program which include:

  • A web-based parenting program that is specifically designed to meet the needs of fathers as well as mothers
  • A training program for clinicians and practitioners to improve engagement of fathers in programs and services
  • A national media campaign, in which celebrity ambassadors and everyday dads will endorse the Like Father Like Son message and promote participation in the web-based parenting program.

The Like Father Like Son Project has resulted in the publication of the following peer-reviewed articles:

Piotrowska, P. J., Tully, L. A., Lenroot, R., Kimonis, E., Hawes, D. J., Moul, C., . . . Dadds, M. R. (2017). Mothers, fathers, and parental systems: A conceptual model of parental engagement in programmes for child mental health—connect, attend, participate, enact (CAPE). Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 20(2), 146-161.

Tully, L. A., Collins, D. J., Piotrowska, P. J., Mairet, K., Hawes, D. J., Moul, C., . . . Dadds, M. R. (2017). Examining practitioner competencies, organizational support and barriers to engaging fathers in parenting interventions. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 1-14. doi:10.1007/s10578-017-0733-0

Tully, L. A., Piotrowska, P. J., Collins, D. J., Mairet, K., Black, N., Kimonis, E. R., . . . Dadds, M. R. (2017). Optimizing child outcomes from parenting interventions: Fathers' experiences, preferences and barriers to participation. BMC Public Health, 17(1), 550. doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4426-1

Tully, L. A., Piotrowska, P. J., Collins, D. A. J., Mairet, K., Hawes, D. J., Kimonis, E., . . . Dadds, M. R. (2017). Study protocol: Evaluation of an online, father-inclusive, universal parenting intervention to reduce child externalising behaviours and improve parenting practices. BMC Psychology, 5(1), 1-11. doi:10.1186/s40359-017-0188-x