Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Mike Allen

Committee Members

Nancy Burrell, Sang-Yeon Kim, Edward Mabry, Hayeon Song, Linsday Timmerman


Fathers, Information-Seeking, Low-Income, Paternal Involvement


Given the importance of paternal involvement in maternal and child health, the current transdisciplinary investigation is a step towards unraveling factors related to paternal involvement by taking a closer look at low-income expectant and recent (E/R) fathers' health information behavior. The study evaluates the belief that information acquisition associates with fathers' involvement in the pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare. A total of 186 E/R fathers (68 low-income) completed a survey about their information needs, sources of information, and information-seeking behavior. A strong association between E/R fathers' health information-seeking behavior and paternal involvement was observed, and the relationship persisted among low-income groups. From a theoretical perspective, results suggest health information-seeking corresponds with behavioral, attitudinal, and structural dimensions of paternal involvement. Four statements summarize practical applications informing health communication interventions helping E/R fathers get the information they need during a partner's pregnancy or after a child is born: (a) Paternal information needs are diverse, (b) Information needs change across stages of child development, (c) Interpersonal sources are important before and after birth, and (d) Relationships matter.