Father groups can help equality between women and men in childrearing (Sweden)

fathers groups

The following is the published summary of a study reported in the Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences (full reference below).

Background: Fathers often feel secondary or invisible in traditional parent groups. Gender-specific parent groups, referred to as father groups, may be inclusive spaces for fathers to discuss their transition into parenthood.

Objective: To quantitatively assess fathers’ perceptions and satisfaction of father groups in Sweden during the prenatal and postnatal periods.

Method: A cross-sectional quantitative study design was used to report fathers’ satisfaction of father groups, including how the groups impacted their personal outcomes, as well as their relationship with their partner and child. Further analyses were completed on if their depressive symptoms, via EPDS, and/or parity affected their satisfaction and personal outcomes.

Setting and participants: Fathers were recruited through father group leaders, who then provided the researchers with their contact information. In total, 87 fathers were contacted via email and 67 fathers from two geographical areas, including urban and suburban settings, completed the survey.

Findings: Most fathers had a university education, a good household economy and were married/cohabiting, while almost 60% were first-time fathers and almost 25% had depressive symptoms. Overall, fathers were generally satisfied with both the prenatal and postnatal father groups, although fathers attended prenatal father groups to a lesser extent. The participants rated the father groups as moderately impacting their equality in the family, self-confidence, feelings of loneliness, social network and being able to express their own opinions, as well as positively affected their relationship with their partner and child, respectively. While there were no differences based on fathers’ parity, those who self-estimated depressive symptoms were less satisfied and rated the father groups less impactfully. Father groups may help encourage fathers to meet policy goals, such as childrearing equality, and can be an important arena for screening fathers for depression.


Wells MB, Kerstis B & Andersson E (2020), Impacted family equality, self-confidence and loneliness: a cross-sectional study of first-time and multi-time fathers’ satisfaction with prenatal and postnatal father groups in Sweden, Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences

Header photo: Chris Goldberg. Creative Commons.