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JFAS Int 2005;3:e14 - August 2005
Father Involvement and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Developing Best Practices

In the three decades since it was first identified, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) has become recognized as the leading cause of cognitive disability in the U.S. and Canada, resulting in profound social and economic costs. While the occurrence of FASD requires maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the factors associated with maternal drinking are often not identified, and difficult to address because they require intervention at level of social and health policy levels.

This article reviews the fundamentally important, but frequently minimized, and ignored role of fathers and their role in either contributing to or protecting against maternal alcohol consumption.

This article reviews the current literature on fathers and FASD. A specific focus on four distinct spheres in which fathers influence this condition emerge from the literature: genetics, being in couple relationship, part of a family, and in the larger environment.

Informed by the literature, a series of best practice guidelines for men across these four domains is outlined. Finally, future directions are explored in which fathers are encouraged to participate with mothers and the larger community to preventing FASD.

More active father involvement will not end FASD, but in stepping forward, and adding their voices, fathers can contribute to prevention and assist those with this condition.


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