Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Vicky Phares, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Storch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jack Darkes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heather Agazzi, Ph.D.


behavioral parent training, father involvement, fathers, mothers


Despite a well-documented need for parent training in the treatment and prevention of child behavior problems, as well as the well-documented benefit of including fathers in preventative and treatment interventions, surprisingly little clinical intervention research examines the role of fathers in such trainings. This research examined the role of father involvement in behavioral parent training by examining parent-related characteristics in relation to treatment outcomes for both mothers and fathers, examining differences between mothers and fathers, and examining the additive benefit of including fathers in treatment across two studies. Both studies utilized archival data obtained from a university- and community-based parent training program for families and service providers of children displaying challenging or disruptive behavior offered through a large south eastern university medical center. The first study examined associations and relationships among parenting knowledge, parenting stress, and treatment engagement in 39 fathers and 107 mothers. The second study examined the associations and relationships among child behavior problems, treatment engagement, and therapy attitudes in 43 fathers and 98 mothers. Surprising patterns of effects were found; overall, the pattern of results of both studies across multiple levels indicated that the treatment was effective and that the pre-post changes observed were robust to a number of covariates. These findings indicate that the observed treatment efficacy was not diminished when examining specific groups of participants. It is possible that specific strengths of the program discussed in detail such as the social support and problem-solving opportunities augmented treatment benefit for subgroups of participants and mitigated the impact of group differences. While differences between mothers and fathers are often portrayed as having dramatic impacts on treatment engagement and efficacy, these group differences may not be as straightforward as is commonly depicted in the literature. Treatments that identify the nature of differential patterns of benefit and address them through treatment design may be able to deliver efficacious treatment generalizable to multiple subgroups of parents. These findings may have important implications for improving treatment engagement and treatment efficacy in the future. Based on the synthesized findings of these two studies, recommendations for treatment development, clinical practice, and future research are discussed.