Objective: Despite theoretical and empirical reasons suggesting its potential importance, paternal involvement in the management of pediatric chronic diseases has rarely been a primary focus of research on family adaptation to pediatric disease. This may be due to a lack of appropriate tools to measure relevant behaviors. This study assessed the reliability and validity of the Dads' Active Disease Support scale (DADS), which was designed to measure male and female caregivers' estimates of the amount and helpfulness of paternal involvement in managing six pediatric chronic diseases.
Method: A sample of 224 heterosexual couples completed the DADS and measures of mother, child, and family functioning, yielding 190 who completed data sets. Of these, 91 mothers and 88 fathers completed the DADS again after a 1-month interval.
Results: Results confirmed DADS internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and interparent agreement. Confirmatory factor analysis supported its construct validity: A two-factor model (amount and helpfulness of fathers' involvement) best accounted for participants' responses. Significant correlations with scores on the Family Assessment Device supported DADS convergent validity. DADS scores of mothers and fathers suggest substantial room for improvement in both the amount and the helpfulness of paternal involvement in disease management. Mothers provided significantly higher ratings of the helpfulness of fathers' involvement than did fathers.
Conclusions: The DADS appears to be a reliable and valid measure for studies of the associations between paternal involvement in disease management and child, maternal, and family adaptation to pediatric chronic medical conditions.