William T. Grant Foundation grant supports a novel father-son intervention whose objective is to reduce sexual risk behavior and improve future life chances for male adolescents residing in communities of concentrated inequality.

Father hugging his son
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Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos of the Center for Latino Adolescent Family Health (CLAFH) at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work has received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the William T. Grant Foundation to test the efficacy of an innovative family-based approach to reducing inequality among minority adolescents residing in the Bronx.

Inequality can be defined as the unequal distribution of circumstances – life chances – that shape adolescents’ prospects for favorable social, economic, political, and health outcomes later in life. The Fathers Raising Responsible Men Project (FRRM) designed by Prof. Guilamo-Ramos is a novel father-son intervention whose objective is to reduce sexual risk behavior and improve future life chances for male adolescents residing in contexts of concentrated inequality.

The research supported by the grant is guided by two questions: 1) How does contextual inequality predict Black and Latino adolescent males’ involvement in sexual risk behavior and shape subsequent inequality of life chances; 2) How can fathers and their respective paternal influence support adolescent males’ life chances by disrupting the negative effect of contextual inequality on adolescent risk-taking?

Two hundred and fifty fathers and sons, aged 15-19, will participate in the randomized clinical trial. The research will take place in Mott Haven, a Bronx community considered a “hotspot” of adolescent sexual and reproductive health disparities and social, economic, political, and health disadvantage. “Father coaches” or FRRM interventionists, will meet with participating fathers for two face to face “coaching sessions” in order to deliver the FRRM risk reduction program and support fathers with practical resources for linking their sons to health and social services.

The long-term goal of the project is to build capacity among father-son dyads for effective communication, greater father involvement in monitoring and supervision, father role modeling related to the meaning of “manhood,” and recognition of fathers’ ability to shape adolescent males’ future goals and aspirations.

The results stemming from the funded research will be disseminated nationally with the intended goal of advancing national efforts to reduce inequality trajectories among adolescent males of color by engaging their fathers in supporting their health and overall well-being.