Black Box Parenting Program for Substance-Abusing Fathers: A Feasibility Study



Publication Details

Torres, M., Deane, F. P., Sng, R. & Quinlan, E. (2018). Black Box Parenting Program for Substance-Abusing Fathers: A Feasibility Study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 39 (4), 472-486.


Substance-abusing fathers have reported parenting difficulties and there is a need for interventions that address these concerns and support these men. The present study conducted a feasibility trial of the Black Box Parenting Program for fathers in residential substance abuse treatment settings. The study had a mixed methods design that assessed for demand, implementation, preliminary efficacy, and acceptability. Measures included pre- and post-questionnaires on parenting self-efficacy and satisfaction, perceived closeness in the parent-child relationship, feelings of guilt and engagement, and satisfaction with treatment. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants post-treatment. Across four groups, the 19 fathers successfully completed the program. Following the intervention, there was a significant decrease in feelings of guilt and a strong motivation to continue to seek help with parenting. Parental self-efficacy and perceived closeness in the parent-child relationship did not significantly improve from pre to post-treatment. Qualitative data indicate that fathers were very satisfied with the program. Satisfaction with treatment was strongly related to parental self-efficacy. Systemic barriers prevented delivery of the program at some treatment sites and parts of the program could not be implemented at multiple sites. Overall, the program shows promise in being able to reduce the barriers to help-seeking such as guilt and poor retention. However, it requires the right service structure to achieve successful implementation.

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