Skip to main content Accessibility help

Fathering Through Change (FTC) intervention for single fathers: Preventing coercive parenting and child problem behaviors

  • David S. DeGarmo (a1) and Jeremy A. Jones (a2)


Dishion and Patterson's work on the unique role of fathers in the coercive family process showed that fathers' coercion explained twice the variance of mothers' in predicting children's antisocial behavior and how treatment and prevention of coercion and promotion of prosocial parenting can mitigate children's problem behaviors. Using these ideas, we employed a sample of 426 divorced or separated fathers randomly assigned to Fathering Through Change (FTC), an interactive online behavioral parent training program or to a waitlist control. Participating fathers had been separated or divorced within the past 24 months with children ages 4 to 12 years. We tested an intent to treat (ITT) mediation hypothesis positing that intervention-induced changes in child problem behaviors would be mediated by changes in fathers' coercive parenting. We also tested complier average causal effects (CACE) models to estimate intervention effects, accounting for compliers and noncompliers in the treatment group and would-be compliers in the controls. Mediation was supported. ITT analyses showed the FTC obtained a small direct effect on father-reported pre–post changes in child adjustment problems (d = .20), a medium effect on pre–post changes in fathers' coercive parenting (d = .61), and a moderate indirect effect to changes in child adjustment (d = .30). Larger effects were observed in CACE analyses.


Corresponding author

Author for Correspondence: David S. DeGarmo, Prevention Science Institute, 1600 Millrace, Suite 106, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6217. Email:


Hide All
Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 11731182.
Baumel, A., Pawar, A., Kane, J. M., & Correll, C. U. (2016). Digital parent training for children with disruptive behaviors: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 26, 740749. doi: 10.1089/cap.2016.0048
Baumel, A., Pawar, A., Mathur, N., Kane, J. M., & Correll, C. U. (2017). Technology-assisted parent training programs for children and adolescents with disruptive behaviors: A systematic review. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 78, e957e969. doi:10.4088/JCP.16r11063
Braver, S. L., Griffin, W. A., & Cookston, J. T. (2005). Prevention programs for divorced nonresident fathers. Family Court Review, 43, 8196. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-1617.2005.00009.x
Brown, H. C., Wang, W., Kellam, S. G., Muthén, B. O., Petras, H., Toyinbo, P., … Windham, A. (2008). Methods for testing theory and evaluating impact in randomized field trials: Intent-to-treat analyses for integrating the perspectives of person, place, and time. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 95, S74S104. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.11.013
Burns, G., & Patterson, D. R. (2000). Factor structure of the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory: A parent rating scale of oppositional defiant behavior toward adults, inattentive behavior, and conduct problem behavior. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29, 569577. doi: 10.1207/S15374424JCCP2904_9
Byrne, B. M. (2011). Structural equation modeling with Mplus: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. New York, NY: Routledge Academic.
Chacko, A., Jensen, S., Lowry, L., Cornwell, M., Chimklis, A., Chan, E., … Pulgarin, B. (2016). Engagement in behavioral parent training: Review of the literature and implications for practice. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 19, 204215. doi: 10.1007/s10567-016-0205-2
Coley, R. L., & Medeiros, B. L. (2007). Reciprocal longitudinal relations between nonresident father involvement and adolescent delinquency. Child Development, 78, 132147. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.00989.x
Cowan, P. A., Cowan, C. P., & Knox, V. (2010). Marriage and fatherhood programs. The Future of Children, 20, 205230.
Cowan, C. P., Cowan, P. A., Pruett, M. K., & Pruett, K. (2007). An approach to preventing coparenting conflict and divorce in low-income families: Strengthening couple relationships and fostering fathers' involvement. Family Process, 46, 109121. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2006.00195.x.
Cowan, P. A., Cowan, C. P., Pruett, M. K., Pruett, K., & Wong, J. J. (2009). Promoting fathers' engagement with children: Preventive interventions for low-income families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 71, 663679. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00625.x
DeGarmo, D. S. (2010). Coercive and prosocial fathering, antisocial personality, and growth in children's postdivorce noncompliance. Child Development, 81, 503516. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01410.x
DeGarmo, D. S., & Forgatch, M. S. (2007). Efficacy of parent training for stepfathers: From playful spectator and polite stranger to effective stepfathering. Parenting: Science and Practice, 7, 125. doi: 10.1080/15295190701665631
DeGarmo, D. S., Nordahl, K. B., & Fabiano, G. A. (2016). Fathers and coercion dynamics in families. In Dishion, T. & Snyder, J. (Eds.), Oxford handbook of coercive dynamics in close relationships: Implications for development, psychopathology and intervention science (pp. 114128). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
DeGarmo, D. S., Reid, J. B., & Knutson, J. F. (2006). Direct laboratory observations and analog measures in research definitions of child maltreatment. In Feerick, M. M., Knutson, J. F., Trickett, P. K., & Flanzer, S. M. (Eds.), Child abuse and neglect: Definitions, classifications, & a framework for research (pp. 293328). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
Dishion, T. J., Forgatch, M., Chamberlain, P., & Pelham, W. E. III. (2016). The Oregon model of behavior family therapy: From intervention design to promoting large-scale system change. Behavior Therapy, 47, 812837. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2016.02.002
Dishion, T. J., French, D. C., & Patterson, G. R. (1995). The development and ecology of antisocial behavior. In Cicchetti, D. & Cohen, D. J. (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Risk, disorder, and adaptation (Vol. 2, pp. 421471). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Dishion, T. J., Owen, L. D., & Bullock, B. M. (2004). Like father, like son: Toward a developmental model for the transmission of male deviance across generations. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 1, 105126. doi:10.1080/17405620444000094
Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D., Connell, A., Gardner, F., Weaver, C., & Wilson, M. (2008). The Family Check-Up with high-risk indigent families: Preventing problem behavior by increasing parents' positive behavior support in early childhood. Child Development, 79, 13951414. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01195.x
Dishion, T. J., & Snyder, J. (Eds.). (2016). Oxford handbook of coercive dynamics in close relationships: Implications for development, psychopathology and intervention science. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Dishion, T. J., & Stormshak, E. A. (2007). Intervening in children's lives: An ecological, family-centered approach to mental health care. Washington, DC: APA Books.
Dunn, J., Cheng, H., O'Connor, T. G., & Bridges, L. (2004). Children's perspectives on their relationships with their nonresident fathers: Influences, outcomes and implications. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 553566. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00245.x
Emery, R. E., Laumann-Billings, L., Waldron, M. C., Sbarra, D. A., & Dillon, P. (2001). Child custody mediation and litigation: Custody, contact, and coparenting 12 years after initial dispute resolution. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 323332. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.69.2.323
Engelmann, S., & Carnine, D. (1991). Theory of instruction: Principles and applications. Eugene, OR: ADI Press.
Fabiano, G. A. (2007). Father participation in behavioral parent training for ADHD: Review and recommendations for increasing inclusion and engagement. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 683693. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.21.4.683
Fabricius, W. V., & Braver, S. L. (2006) Relocation, parent conflict, and domestic violence: Independent risk factors for children of divorce. Journal of Child Custody, 3, 727. doi: 10.1300/J190v03n03_02
Fabricius, W. V., & Luecken, L. J. (2007). Postdivorce living arrangements, parent conflict, and long-term physical health correlates for children of divorce. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 195205. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.21.2.195
Ford, T., Hutchings, J., Bywater, T., Goodman, A., & Goodman, R. (2009). Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire added value scores: Evaluating effectiveness in child mental health interventions. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 194, 552558. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.052373
Forgatch, M. S. (1994). Parenting through change: A programmed intervention curriculum for groups of single mothers. Eugene, OR: Oregon Social Learning Center.
Forgatch, M. S., & DeGarmo, D. S. (1999). Parenting through change: An effective parenting training program for single mothers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 711724. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.67.5.711
Forgatch, M. S., & DeGarmo, D. S. (2002). Extending and testing the social interaction learning model with divorce samples. In Reid, J. B., Patterson, G. R., & Snyder, J. (Eds.), Antisocial behavior in children and adolescents: A developmental analysis and model for intervention (pp. 235256). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Frank, T. J., Keown, L. J., & Sanders, M. R. (2015). Enhancing father engagement and interparental teamwork in an evidence-based parenting intervention: A randomized-controlled trial of outcomes and processes. Behavior Therapy, 46, 749763. doi:
Gearing, R. E., Colvin, G., Popova, S., & Regehr, C. (2008). Re:Membering fatherhood: Evaluating the impact of a group intervention on fathering. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 33, 2242. doi: 10.1080/01933920701798539
Graham, J. W. (2003). Adding missing-data-relevant variables to FIML-based structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling, 10, 80100. doi: 10.1207/S15328007SEM1001_4
Hayes, A. F., & Rockwood, N. J. (2017). Regression-based statistical mediation and moderation analysis in clinical research: Observations, recommendations, and implementation. Behavior Research and Therapy, 98, 3957. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2016.11.001
Hoeve, M., Dubas, J. S., Eichelsheim, V. I., van der Laan, P. H., Smeenk, W., & Gerris, J. R. M. (2009). The relationship between parenting and delinquency: A meta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 749775. doi:10.1007/s10802-009-9310-8
Hoeve, M., Stams, G. J. J. M., Put, C. E., Dubas, J. S., Laan, P. H., & Gerris, J. R. M. (2012). A meta-analysis of attachment to parents and delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 771785. doi:10.1007/s10802-011-9608-1
Jaffee, S. R., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., & Taylor, A. (2003). Life with (or without) father: The benefits of living with two biological parents depend on the father's antisocial behavior. Child Development, 74, 109126. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.t01-1-00524
Jo, B. (2002). Estimation of intervention effects with noncompliance: Alternative model specifications. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 27, 385409. doi: 10.3102/10769986027004385
Judd, C. M., Kenny, D. A., & McClelland, G. H. (2001). Estimating and testing mediation and moderation in within-subject designs. Psychological Methods, 6, 115134. doi: 10.1037/1082-989X.6.2.115
King, V., & Sobolewski, J. M. (2006) Nonresident fathers’ contributions to adolescent well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 537557. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00274.x
Kraemer, H., Kiernan, M., Essex, M., & Kupfer, D. J. (2008). How and why criteria defining moderators and mediators differ between the Baron & Kenny and MacArthur approaches. Health Psychology, 27, S101S108. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.27.2(Suppl.).S101
Leidy, M. S., Schofield, T. J., & Parke, R. D. (2013). Fathers' contributions to children's social development. In Cabrera, N. J. & Tamis-Lemonda, C. S. (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 151167). New York, NY: Routledge.
Little, R. J., & Yau, L. H. Y. (1998). Statistical techniques for analyzing data from prevention trials: Treatment of no-shows using Rubin's Causal Model. Psychological Methods, 3, 147159. doi: 10.1037/1082-989X.3.2.147
MacKinnon, D. P. (2008). Introduction to statistical mediation analysis. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group/Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
McDonald, R. P., & Ho, M.-H. R. (2002). Principles and practice in reporting structural equation analyses. Psychological Methods, 7, 6482. doi: 10.1037/1082-989X.7.1.64
McIntosh, J. E., Wells, Y. D., Smyth, B. M., & Long, C. M. (2008). Child-focused and child-inclusive divorce mediation: Comparative outcomes from a prospective study of postseparation adjustment. Family Court Review, 46, 105124. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-1617.2007.00186.x
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2018). Mplus user's guide. (8th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Authors.
Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castilia.
Patterson, G. R. (2005). The next generation of PMTO models. Behavior Therapist, 28, 2532.
Patterson, G. R., & Chamberlain, P. (1994). A functional analysis of parent resistance during parent training therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 1, 5370. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2850.1994.tb00006.x
Patterson, G. R., & Dishion, T. J. (1988). Multilevel family process models: Traits, interactions, and relationships. In Hinde, R. & Stevenson-Hinde, J. (Eds.), Relationships and families: Mutual influences (pp. 283310). Oxford, UK: Clarendon.
Patterson, G. R., Forgatch, M. S., & DeGarmo, D. S. (2010). Cascading effects following intervention. Development & Psychopathology, 22(Special Issue 04), 949970. doi:10.1017/S0954579410000568
Patterson, G. R., Reid, J. B., & Dishion, T. J. (1992). A social interactional approach: Antisocial boys (Vol. 4). Eugene, OR: Castilla.
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36, 717737. doi: 10.3758/BF03206553
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879891. doi: 10.3758/BRM.40.3.879
Reid, J. B., Patterson, G. R., & Snyder, J. (2002). Antisocial behavior in children and adolescents: A developmental analysis and model for intervention. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Shaw, D. S., Forgatch, M. S., Fishbein, D. H., & Sandler, I. N. (2018). Editorial: The life and contributions of Thomas Dishion. Prevention Science, 19(7), 849852. doi:10.1007/s11121-018-0934-1
Simons, R. L., Whitbeck, L. B., Beaman, J., & Conger, R. D. (1994) The impact of mothers’ parenting, involvement by nonresidential fathers, and parental conflict on the adjustment of adolescent children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 356374. doi: 10.2307/353105
Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Hammond, M. (2001). Preventing conduct problems, promoting social competence: A parent and teacher training partnership in Head Start. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 30(3), 283302. doi:10.1207/S15374424JCCP3003_2


Fathering Through Change (FTC) intervention for single fathers: Preventing coercive parenting and child problem behaviors

  • David S. DeGarmo (a1) and Jeremy A. Jones (a2)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed