This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Examination of Outcomes of Fatherhood Program Participants in Rural and Non-Rural Communities




Landers, Ami

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Fatherhood programs focus on enhancing parenting behaviors, couple and co-parenting relationships, and economic security for families and their children. While there is a growing literature on evaluation of fatherhood programs, few consider contextual factors that may influence program effectiveness. This study tested whether changes in outcomes related to parenting, couple relationships, general financial literacy, and child support commitment differed based on rural and non-rural settings. The sample for this study consisted of 274 fatherhood program participants from across Alabama. Of the sample, 78% of the participants either had no high school education or only a high school diploma or equivalent. Findings indicated enhanced benefits for participants and even greater enhancements for those in rural fatherhood programs in three of the four outcomes. Implications for research and practice suggest that the community setting can influence change in targeted outcomes especially for fathers in rural communities. This is important since rural areas have far fewer resources than non-rural areas and program providers can feel confident that providing services to rural fathers will aid in contributing in these communities. However, it appears that all fathers, regardless of setting, experienced significant improvements in their parenting skills. Additionally, these findings add to the finite literature on fatherhood evaluation and suggest more fatherhood programs are needed in rural areas. Continuing to provide fatherhood programs in diverse communities, evaluating their effectiveness, and considering contextual factors in the evaluation of programs significantly adds to the existing literature and may prove to be essential moving forward.