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Despite the growing number of responsible fatherhood programs, only a few of them have been evaluated based on a randomized controlled trial. To fill this gap in evaluation research on fatherhood programs, we conducted a single-blind, randomized, controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of an Ohio-based fatherhood program called “TYRO Dads” in improving the father-child relationship among low-income, primarily unmarried, nonresidential fathers.

We collected data from 252 fathers who participated in the study at 17 research sites in eight cities in Ohio by conducting a survey three times between February 2015 and September 2016: before the intervention (pretest), immediately after the intervention (post-test), and three months after the intervention (follow-up). Study participants were randomly assigned to two groups: 137 in the intervention or treatment group who took “TYRO Dads,” a five-week fatherhood course (which consists of 10 sessions of 20 hours in total; i.e., two two-hour sessions per week) and 115 in the control group who only were offered the opportunity to attend an informational session about employment resources and other resources available to help them achieve their goals.

The primary outcomes of interest include fathers’ reports of satisfaction with parenting their child and the frequency of father-child activities. Also measured were secondary outcomes of intervention: fathers’ parenting efficacy, role identity, coparenting relationship with their child’s mother, and perceived challenges in parenting.


Originally published in Fatherhood Research & Practice Network, January 2018.