Is participation in antenatal classes associated with fathers' mental health? A quasi-experimental and prospective study

GÜN KAKAŞÇI Ç., POTUR D., Abbasoglu D. E. , Karabulut O., Merih Y. D. , DEMİRCİ N.

INFANT MENTAL HEALTH JOURNAL, vol.43, no.6, pp.938-950, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/imhj.22015
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Child Development & Adolescent Studies, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.938-950
  • Keywords: pre and antenatal education, fathers, transition to parenthood, paternal roles, Turkey, EXPECTANT FATHERS, 1ST-TIME FATHERS, CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION, POSTNATAL-PERIOD, EXPERIENCES, POPULATION, PREGNANCY, CARE, INVOLVEMENT, ATTACHMENT
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


Background: In comparison to those conducted with women, studies about the transition of men to parenthood are limited in numbers, especially in developing countries. Moreover, in Turkey, along with gender roles and sociocultural changes, the roles of fathers are also changing. This change highlights the need to understand early parenthood for fathers. Methods: A quasi-experimental, non-randomized prospective study with a pre- and post-training model was conducted in a hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. Men in the antenatal education group (EG = 55) and their pregnant wives participated in 6 weeks of training during pregnancy (24th-28th weeks gestation). Men in the care-as-usual group (CG = 55) attended routine check-ups and follow-ups with their wives. GHQ-28 (General Health Questionnaire-28) was administered three times in total at study enrolment, immediately following the 6-week intervention period, and at the 6th postpartum week. Results: There was no significant difference between the groups' GHQ-28 scores before and after the training. In the 6th week of postpartum follow-up, the GHQ-28 scores were significantly higher for the fathers who participated in the educational intervention. Conclusions: Antenatal education classes were found to be associated with the mental health of fathers. Further research evaluating family-centered parenting support programs is warranted to better understand how to support fathers in the transition to parenthood, particularly in countries in which fathers' roles in pregnancy and early parenthood are changing.