Do Families with Involved Fathers have Better Parent Training Outcomes than Families with Uninvolved Fathers: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Year of Completion


First Advisor

Camilo Ortiz


Ineffective parenting practices are associated with disruptive behaviors in children (Lundahl, Tollefson, Risser & Lovejoy, 2008). Behavioral parent training (BPT) teaches parents effective behavior management strategies, and is an efficacious treatment for disruptive behavior disorders in children (Brestan & Eyberg, 1998; Lundahl, Risser, & Lovejoy, 2006; McCart, Priester, Davies, & Azen, 2006). It has been a long-standing assumption among many clinicians that including fathers in BPT improves treatment outcomes (Bagner & Eyberg, 2003b). However, because fathers have been drastically underrepresented in studies on the effectiveness of BPT, this assumption is largely untested (Fabiano, 2007; Tiano & McNeil, 2005). The current study examined the hypothesis that families with fathers who attended BPT sessions (involved fathers) would demonstrate greater treatment gains and maintenance than families with fathers who did not participate in treatment (uninvolved fathers). Participants were 24 families with involved fathers (IF) and 26 families with uninvolved fathers (UF) who completed a 10-week Incredible Years (Webster-Stratton, 2001) parent training program. The data failed to support the hypotheses that father involvement is associated with treatment outcomes. Furthermore, father session engagement among the involved fathers was not significantly associated with mothers’ reported treatment outcomes. These findings cast some doubt on the general assumption that father involvement in BPT is associated with better outcomes. The clinical implications are that fathers should not necessarily be encouraged to attend BPT if it will increase the likelihood of treatment barriers and dropout.