Development of a set of mobile phone text messages designed for new fathers

R. Fletcher*, C. May, J. Wroe, P. Hall, D. Cooke, C. Rawlinson, J. Redfern, B. Kelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)



The project aimed to test of the quality and acceptability of researcher-developed Short Message Service (SMS) messages designed to support fathers of infants aged 12 months or less. 

Background: The findings of previous studies suggest antenatal and postnatal depression among fathers’ impacts negatively on the health of family members. 


Draft messages were first modified based on expert review. In a second phase, parents (mothers n = 56; fathers n = 46; unknown n = 4) were recruited through two early childhood parenting services to rate the clarity, usefulness and relevance of the 70 SMS messages using a paper-based survey. In a third phase, 15 fathers were recruited to receive texts at different times over three weeks. 


Findings suggest that SMS items were easily understood by the majority of parents, with only 3% of responses indicating an item was ‘not easily understood’. Feedback from parents indicated that negatively rated SMS messages were considered as either poorly phrased, lacking enough information or as not offering sufficient support. The majority (88%) of the SMS items were also rated as ‘useful’ by the parents. 


Fathers’ responses indicated that receiving the texts at different times was acceptable and that message content was relevant to their fathering. The study has produced a set of brief text messages suitable and acceptable to new fathers and their partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-534
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


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