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Website aims to help men become dads

By Julie Robert
Futurity

Researchers have created a website to ease the transition to fatherhood.

Expectant and new parents look to the internet for parenting prep, but dads don’t always find the information they say they need about pregnancy, parenthood, and their own mental health and well-being.

“We have used these findings to guide the development of HealthyDads.ca, a prototype website that we have been pilot-testing since 2015 with expectant fathers to promote their mental health and better prepare them for the transition to parenthood,” says senior author Deborah Da Costa, associate professor of medicine and a scientist in the division of clinical epidemiology at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

Researchers recruited 174 men in Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary over a six-month period and asked the expectant and new fathers to complete online questionnaires that measured their needs related to psychosocial aspects of the transition to parenthood, lifestyle behaviors, parenting, and factors associated with the decision to visit a father-focused website.

The findings that appear in the Journal of Medical Internet Research indicate that men are seeking a broad spectrum of web-based information, including topics such as parenting/infant care, supporting and improving relationships with their partners, work-family balance, managing stress, and improving sleep.

“We know that the transition into fatherhood is a time of significant life change for men, and many may experience a decline in their mental health and well-being as a result,” says Craig Martin, global director, mental health & suicide prevention of the global men’s health charity the Movember Foundation, which funded the work.

“It’s critically important we identify ways to address the needs of men in this group and this study will help find new ways to reach men with the advice and support at this critical time in their lives.”

Source: McGill University

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