Fathers’ contributions to the management of their child’s long-term medical condition: a narrative review of the literature

Veronica Mary Swallow, Ann MacFadyen, Sheila Santacroce, Heather Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Context - Fathers' contributions to the management of long-term childhood medical conditions are under-represented in the literature; therefore, the full extent of their involvement is poorly understood by practitioners and researchers, so strategies for promoting their involvement have not yet been fully considered. Objective  - To review studies of fathers' actual contributions in a wide range of conditions, the potential to optimize their contribution through additional interventions by health professionals and a direction for future research. Design - Narrative review of the literature. Methods - CINAHL, Medline, PsychInfo and ERIC databases were searched electronically between the years 1995-2008. The terms adherence, adjustment, child, chronic, compliance, concordance, condition, coping, disease, father, illness, information, long-term, management/intervention, mother, role, self-care and treatment were searched for separately and in combination. English language papers reporting primary research were selected and supplemented by hand-searching reference lists. Thirty-five papers (arising from 29 studies) met criteria and were selected for narrative review. Results - Five themes were identified: (i) the impact of long-term conditions on fathers' ability to promote their child's well-being, (ii) factors influencing fathers' involvement in health care, (iii) personal growth/beneficial effects for fathers, (iv) the impact of father's involvement on family functioning and (v) strategies that increase fathers' participation in their child's health care and in research investigating fathers' participation. Conclusions - The review suggests that fathers' involvement in children's health care can positively impact on fathers', mothers' and children's well-being and family functioning. A range of strategies are identified to inform the promotion of fathers' contributions and future research investigating their input.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-175
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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