FRRM: A Father-Son Intervention to Reduce Teen Fatherhood and Long-term Inequality Among Black and Latino Male Youth

Can a father-son intervention reduce the risk of teen pregnancy and improve academic and behavioral outcomes for Black and Latino adolescents?

Adolescents in low-income urban areas experience social and economic challenges that can contribute to high rates of risk behaviors associated with teen pregnancy and, in turn, poor long-term economic, educational, and social and behavioral outcomes. Yet cumulative disadvantage can be offset by other experiences during adolescence. For example, parental communication, involvement, monitoring, role modeling, and links to resources can help youth make a healthy transition to adulthood. Focusing on the family as a lever that can be strengthened to improve youth outcomes, Guilamo-Ramos and his team will conduct a randomized controlled trial of an intervention they developed through pilot research. Fathers Raising Responsible Men (FRRM) is an intervention that engages father-adolescent son dyads, strengthens their communication, and builds paternal parenting capacity and involvement to reduce adolescent risk behaviors. The team will recruit 250 father-son pairs in the South Bronx for the study. The treatment group will receive the intervention’s four components over a period of nine months. Surveys will be administered to the fathers and sons at baseline and after nine months in order to collect data on fathers’ involvement, monitoring, and discussion of risk behaviors. Adolescents will also report on their sexual risk behaviors and intentions to become fathers. These assessments will provide the basis for the intent-to-treat analyses. To deepen understanding of the intervention, semi-structured interviews also will be conducted with 30 pairs, half of whom responded positively to the intervention and half of whom demonstrated few, if any, changes. The focus on males and father-son dyads will offer a novel contribution to the literature on teen pregnancy prevention as a way to reduce inequality.