Maternal Engagement in a Home Visiting Program as a Function of Fathers’ Formal and Informal Participation

  • Lauren E. StargelEmail author
  • Rebecca C. Fauth
  • Jessica L. Goldberg
  • M. Ann Easterbrooks


Home visiting programs support new and expecting parents by strengthening parenting practices, improving parental and child health and well-being, and preventing child maltreatment. Participant retention is often a challenge for home visitation, particularly for young families, potentially reducing program impact. Father engagement in services may be one avenue for supporting continued program take-up for young parents. The current study examined associations between fathers’ formal and informal participation in an infant home visiting program and mothers’ take-up of home visits and whether these associations differed depending on mothers’ relationship status at enrollment or timing of enrollment. Results showed that fathers’ participation in home visiting supported maternal retention, particularly when fathers were formally enrolled. These associations depended on mothers’ relationship status at enrollment but not on whether they enrolled pre- or postnatally. These findings have direct implications for home visiting programs, both in supporting maternal retention and in informing the recruitment and engagement of fathers.


Home visiting Retention Father engagement Young parents 


Funding Information

This study was funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Grants MA5014 & MA7441).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

For this type of study (retrospective), formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

11121_2020_1090_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19 kb).


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research (TIER), Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human DevelopmentTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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