Category Archives: International Congress of Behavioral Medicine

12th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine: Child Health Nurses Views on Father Involvement

In August/September of 2012, the 12th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine (ICBM) was held in Budapest, Hungary. The brochure of the conference and the types of presentations given at an ICBM conference is found here: ICBM

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 8.01.19 PMThe conference itself was ok. It was run efficiently enough and rooms were easy to find in order to listen to presentations. However, what made this conference fun was the location–the conference took place right next to the Castle in Budapest. In fact, there was a beer festival set out right in front of the castle for several days during the conference.

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Budapest is also quite a romantic city. The lights on the Castle and bridges at night are breathtaking. Also, moving around the city is rather simple, with lots of public transportation that is pretty cheap. However, three of my coworkers were flashed (during two different incidents) while traveling around the city–one on a tram and one while walking through a park. We were assured by locals that this was not at all common, but it was something of note that happened.

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At the ICBM conference I discussed via a poster about Swedish Child Heath Nurses Views on Father Involvement.

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Or it can also be seen in pdf form here: ICBM Nurse Interview Poster Final

Swedish Child Health nurses see an amazing 95-99% of parents of young children (aged 1-5) to analyze the child’s growth and development, provide parents with parenting resources, provide parenting advice/parenting classes, and a number of other things. However, mothers are much more likely to visit these Child Health Centers than fathers are, so I investigated why that might be from the perspective of the nurse.

Three main themes were discussed at this conference: the Child Health nurse’s own agenda, the Child Health nurses perceptions of their own role in involving fathers, and their opinion about the role of fathers. The overarching conclusion was that they appreciated and were happy to see that more fathers were starting to visit them compared to previous decades. However, they stated that they wanted to involve themselves as little as possible in actively promoting father involvement–in other words, they didn’t want to further encourage fathers to come by reaching out to fathers in any way–they mainly sat back and talked with whoever showed up at their doorstep.

Previous research has shown though that if fathers are reached out to, then they will become more involved in their child’s health care. If they are more involved, then they start to become more competent about their child’s health and therefore feel more confident in seeking answers when new issues arise, and are able to deal with their child’s health on a more regular basis than those who never attend and are not involved in their children’s health care.

If Swedish society wants fathers to be more involved, one route might be to have the Child Health nurses actively encourage father participation and involvement.