Tweddle Dads

Early Parenting Residential Service Dads in Distress

Early Parenting Residential Service Dads in Distress


A new Melbourne based study has found that the male partners of women admitted to a private residential early parenting service (REPS) experienced significant increases in stress, irritability, fatigue, sleepiness, and a worsening of sleep quality.

Published in Australian Psychologist, the 2018 study examined ‘Psychological Distress, Alcohol Use, Fatigue, Sleepiness, and Sleep Quality: An Exploratory Study Among Men Whose Partners Are Admitted to a Residential Early Parenting Service

In the study, fifty‐one percent of men screened positive for alcohol misuse; 53% reported clinically significant fatigue and 82% scored in the clinical range for poor sleep quality revealing that men whose partners are admitted to a residential early parenting unit, may be experiencing psychological and sleep‐related functioning, which might affect interactions with their partners and infants.

In 2012, a Parenting Research Centre study at Tweddle examined the mental health needs of fathers attending an Early Parenting Centre. The study assessed 144 Tweddle fathers who provided information on their symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and fatigue.

The majority of fathers admitted to the residential program had mental health symptoms, and one in five men were experiencing clinically significant levels of distress. Distressed fathers reported poorer physical health and limited opportunity to eat well, exercise regularly or have leisure time.

The research findings demonstrated that the postnatal period may be a key time for engaging fathers in non-stigmatising support services.

Tweddle has endeavoured to improve services for men over the years with programs designed for dads, providing DASS assessments (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale) for dads and ensuring dads are encouraged to spend as much time engaging in the residential unit program as possible.

Building upon a successful pilot with 57 fathers of young children showing substantial reductions in depressive and stress symptoms, Tweddle’s Working Out Dads program is currently completing its second pilot evaluation.

The Working Out Dads evaluation aims to address a significant gap in knowledge about the effectiveness of early intervention and prevention approaches to promote the health and well-being of fathers in the early years of parenting, to inform policy and best practice in promoting the mental health of fathers and the prevention of family conflict.

In 2019 Tweddle will seek funding to deliver more Working Out Dads program. We are inviting partners and sponsors to join us in changing families, communities and workplaces, one dad at a time. 

Healthy dads are vital to families. Conclusive research confirms dads play a significant role in the social, cognitive, emotional and physical well-being of their children from infancy with lasting influences into their adult life.

To support Working Out Dads call Tweddle on (03) 9689 1577


Tweddle dad and son
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