Father-Infant Attachment and Co-Parenting: Theory and Intervention

Course code HLSC6112
Available in 2016
2016 Course Timetables


This course will provide students with a challenging but thorough understanding of the processes involved in the relationships formation of relationships between fathers and their infants. Recent research has questioned the traditional focus on mothers that relegated fathers to the role of 'helper'. Fathers' interactions with their infants are now the subject of increasing interest to researchers. The patterns of play, nurturing and care demonstrated by fathers is now being linked to long term child outcomes in much the same way that mother-infant interaction has been shown to affect children's development. At the same time fathers' relationship with the mother of the child is also being identified as an independent factor in plotting children's development. How couples negotiate and develop a sense of comfort with their roles as 'mother of new baby' and 'father of new baby' is only now being investigated. Both the role of fathers in co-parenting with mothers and the development of the father-infant bond have important implications for therapy and support of fathers and their families. Examples of effective practice with new fathers and their families will be described and discussed in order to develop the skills to engage with fathers and a practical framework for delivering effective programs and services for families with infants.


WebLearn GradSchool

  • Semester 1 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Develop an understanding of the evidence relating father-infant attachment

2. Develop a range of skills to assist new fathers in their role

3. Identify the key factors in successful models addressing father-infant and father-infant-mother relationships

4. Critically reflect on personal beliefs and professional responsibilities that impact on father engagement

5. Explore the implications and potential for father engagement in students' current or potential field of employment


Course content will cover:

  • Father-infant attachment concepts
  • Mother-infant and father-infant attachment compared
  • Threats to secure father-infant attachment and treatment models
  • Co-parenting theory and evidence
  • Treatment models for co-parenting
  • Perinatal depression in mothers and fathers
  • Delivering support to fathers and mothers in the perinatal period
  • Reasons for engaging fathers
  • Overview of research on father-child involvement
  • Strategies and tools for engaging fathers
  • Case studies from a range of disciplines
  • Critical reflection on the application of father engagement in a range of fields of study

Assumed Knowledge

Relevant Undergraduate degree or equivalent

Assessment Items

Online Learning Activity: Online Learning Activity

Presentation: Presentation

Project: Project

Proposal / Plan: Proposal / Plan

Contact Hours

WebLearn GradSchool

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 10 hour(s) per Week for Full Term