Families and Parenting

Unconditional Cash and Breastfeeding, Child Care, and Maternal Employment among Families with Young Children Residing in Poverty

May 24, 2024

This study—the first randomized controlled trial of early childhood poverty reduction in the United States—investigates how increased economic resources affect 1,000 low-income US mothers’ breastfeeding, child-care, and employment practices and the ability to meet their intentions for these practices in the first year of their infant’s life.

Youth’s Political Identity and Fertility Desires

May 13, 2024

This study examines the association between political identity and young adults’ fertility desires from 1989 to 2019. Results show political identity has become increasingly salient for fertility desires.

Beyond Parental Wealth: Grandparental Wealth and the Transition to Adulthood

May 7, 2024

Young adulthood encompasses a number of decision points around education, employment, and fertility. To capture this complexity, this study examines how multigenerational wealth is related to four outcomes: college attendance, steady employment, early nonmarital birth, and idleness.

Unique Profiles of Postpartum Family Needs and Evidence of Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Insights from Community Implementation of Family Connects

April 29, 2024

Overall, families reported high levels of need during home visits, and community connections were facilitated for 57% of visited families. Significant differences in need profiles between whites and minoritized groups were revealed, reflecting both disparity and uniqueness.

Individualism, Collectivism and Conformity in Nine Countries: Relations with Parenting and Child Adjustment

April 15, 2024

This study investigated how individualism, collectivism and conformity are associated with parenting and child adjustment among 10-year-old children from 13 cultural groups in nine countries. Being connected to an interdependent, cohesive group appears to relate to parenting and children’s adjustment.

Parents’ Learning Support and School Attitudes in Relation to Adolescent Academic Identity and School Performance in Nine Countries

March 22, 2024

This study investigated relations among parental education, parents’ attitudes toward their adolescents’ school, parental support for learning at home, and adolescents’ academic identity and school performance over time and in different national contexts.

Monthly Unconditional Income Supplements Starting at Birth: Experiences Among Mothers of Young Children with Low Incomes in the U.S.

March 2, 2024

Recently, U.S. advocates and funders have supported direct cash transfers for individuals and families as an efficient, immediate, and non-paternalistic path to poverty alleviation. This article address questions and concerns about how such programs are implemented.

Adolescents’ Relationships with Parents and Romantic Partners in Eight Countries

February 13, 2024

This study examines how parent-adolescent conflicts, attachment, positive parenting, and communication are related to adolescents’ romantic relationship quality, satisfaction, conflicts, and management. Results stress the relevance of parent-adolescent conflicts and attachment as factors connected to how adolescents experience romantic relationships.

Intergenerational Effects of the Fast Track Intervention on Next-Generation Child Outcomes: A Preregistered Randomized Clinical Trial

February 7, 2024

Researchers examined whether the Fast Track mental health intervention delivered to individuals in childhood decreased mental health problems and the need for health services among the children of these individuals. They found children of Fast Track participants used fewer general inpatient services and fewer inpatient or outpatient mental health services.

The Developmental Trends of Parental Self-Efficacy and Adolescents’ Rule-Breaking Behaviors in the Italian Context: A 7-Wave Latent Growth Curve Study

November 16, 2023

Parental self-efficacy (PSE) captures parents’ beliefs in their ability to perform the parenting role successfully and to handle pivotal issues of specific developmental periods. This study examined the developmental trends of PSE among Italian mothers and fathers over seven waves as well as the longitudinal associations between PSE and rule-breaking behaviors during late adolescence.

Developmental Trajectories of Parental Self-Efficacy as Children Transition to Adolescence in Nine Countries: Latent Growth Curve Analyses

November 13, 2023

This study examined parental self-efficacy among mothers and fathers over 3.5 years during children’s transition into adolescence, and whether the level and developmental trajectory of parental self-efficacy varied by cultural group. Data were drawn from three waves of the Parenting Across Cultures (PAC) project, a large-scale longitudinal, cross-cultural study, across nine countries (12 ethnic/cultural groups). Results suggest that declines in parental self-efficacy documented in previous research are culturally influenced.

Adolescents’ Perceived Changes in Internalizing Symptoms during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Father Internalizing Symptoms and Parent Support in Germany and Slovakia

October 24, 2023

This study examined the relation between adolescents’ perceived changes in internalizing symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic and four different family and peer relationships in Germany and Slovakia. In both countries, we found that higher levels of father internalizing symptoms exacerbated the relation between pandemic disruption and increases in pandemic-related adolescent internalizing symptoms. Similarly, parental support buffered the relation between adolescent perceptions of COVID-19 disruption and increases in the adolescents’ internalizing symptoms.

Impact of the Family Connects Program on Maternal and Infant Health and Well-Being

October 19, 2023

This research brief summarizes the findings of randomized control trial evaluations of the Family Connects program. The findings suggest that, when implemented with high quality, Family Connects has been effective at improving maternal and infant health and well-being and reducing health disparities among racial groups.

Contraception Use and Satisfaction Among Mothers with Low-Income: Evidence from the Baby’s First Years Study

October 6, 2023

Low income can lead to limited choice of and access to contraception. This study examined whether an unconditional cash transfer (UCT) impacts contraceptive use, including increased satisfaction with and reduced barriers to preferred methods, for individuals with low income. Receipt of monthly UCTs did not impact contraception methods, perceived barriers to use, or satisfaction.

Intraindividual Variability in Parental Acceptance-Rejection Predicts Externalizing and Internalizing Symptoms Across Childhood/Adolescence in Nine Countries.

September 26, 2023

Parenting that is high in rejection and low in acceptance is associated with higher levels of internalizing and externalizing problems in children and adolescents. Findings show that more variability over time in experiences of parental acceptance/rejection predicts internalizing and externalizing symptoms as children transition into adolescence, and this effect is present across multiple diverse samples.

Intergenerational Effects of a Family Cash Transfer on the Home Environment

August 22, 2023

A family cash transfer in childhood that had long-term effects on individual functioning did not impact the home environment of participants who became parents. Rather, parents in both groups were providing home environments generally conducive to their children’s growth and development.

The Role of Public and Private Food Assistance in Supporting Families’ Food Security and Meal Routines

May 6, 2023

“Backpack” food programs administered through public schools send non-perishable foods home with children to supplement school meals. Power Packs Project (PPP) is a unique backpack program, in that it provides fresh food. This study is the first to examine the effect of picking up a Power Pack in a given week on parent and child food insecurity and meal routines.

Birth Spacing and Child Maltreatment: Population-Level Estimates for North Carolina

April 29, 2023

Findings provide the strongest evidence to date that very short birth spacing of zero through 6 months from last birth to the index child’s conception is a prenatal predictor of child maltreatment (indexed as child welfare involvement) throughout early childhood. However, challenging previous empirical evidence, this study reports inconsistent results for benefits of additional spacing delay beyond 6 months with regard to child maltreatment risk reduction, especially for children of racial and ethnic minorities.

The effects of a universal short-term home visiting program: Two-year impact on parenting behavior and parent mental health

March 27, 2023

Assignment to Family Connects, a short-term home visiting program, was associated with improvements in population-level self-reported scores of positive parenting 2 years post-intervention.

Co-Regulation: What It Is and Why it Matters

March 2, 2023

Short video on co-regulation, the interactive process by which caring adults (1) provide warm supportive relationships, (2) promote self-regulation through coaching, modeling, and feedback, and (3) structure supportive environments.

A Theory-Based Approach to Understanding Best Practices in Using Online Marketing Materials for Home-Based Parenting Programs

February 22, 2023

Findings have implications for ways to successfully market home-based parenting programs to families experiencing risk factors for child maltreatment and engage them in evidence-based services to promote family well-being.

The Parenting of Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States

January 9, 2023

In the APA Handbook of Adolescent and Young Adult Development, Drew Rothenberg and co-authors focus on the parenting of adolescents and young adults in the United States. First considering some of the sociodemographic trends that are reshaping families, then examining classic social learning and behavioral approaches to conceptualizing the parenting of adolescents as well as family systems approaches.

An International Perspective on Parenting and Family Influences on Adolescents and Young Adults

January 9, 2023

In the APA Handbook of Adolescent and Young Adult Development, Jen Lansford and co-authors discuss how parents and their adolescent and young adult offspring observe and participate in parent–offspring interactions in their communities and hold expectations about their own relationships derived in part from culturally shaped expectations.

The HOME-21: A Revised Measure of the Home Environment for the 21st Century Tested in Two Independent Samples

January 1, 2023

To reflect historical changes in family composition, gender roles and division of childcare, norms about the acceptability of different forms of discipline, and the digital environment in which children live, this report presents the HOME-21, a revised version of the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment–Short Form, which has been the most widely used measure of children’s home environments for decades.

Why Are My Parents So Annoying?

December 26, 2022

CrowdScience listener Ilixo, age 11, has been wondering why it is that our parents become so annoying as we become teenagers. Is it something that is changing in his brain or are they actually becoming more annoying as they age? Presenter Marnie Chesterton consults our assembled panel of experts, including Jennifer Lansford, a Research Professor at Duke University who studies parenting and child development.

Predicting Child Aggression: The Role of Parent and Child Endorsement of Reactive Aggression Across 13 Cultural Groups in 9 Nations

December 24, 2022

Parent and child endorsement of reactive aggression both predict the emergence of child aggression, but they are rarely studied together and in longitudinal contexts. The present study does so by examining the unique predictive effects of parent and child endorsement of reactive aggression at age 8 on child aggression at age 9 in 1456 children from 13 cultural groups in 9 nations.

Practitioners in North Carolina’s TANF and Related Income Assistance Programs Offer Perspectives on Latino Families’ Experiences

December 20, 2022

This brief is part of a series to examine state-level policies that relate to social service and safety net programs and the ways in which state and federal policy implementation at the local level may affect the reach of program benefits among Latino families.

Parents as Earners: What Parental Work Means for Parenting and the Role of Public Policy

December 1, 2022

Lisa Gennetian and Anna Gassman-Pines’ chapter in The Cambridge Handbook of Parenting focuses on families with young children age 0-5 and considers the context of work and employment for parents, the role of child care and early education as supports for working parents, and the theoretical and empirical linkages between parents’ work contexts and parenting.

Discipline and Punishment in Child Development

December 1, 2022

Jen Lansford’s chapter in The Cambridge Handbook of Parenting provides an overview of parents’ discipline and punishment in relation to child development.

Familial Deaths and First Birth

November 15, 2022

Motivated by the rise in premature mortality among working-age adults, we examine the association between adult familial deaths and the transition to motherhood. Although many deaths can be disruptive, deaths that occur sooner than expected and to certain family members (e.g., mothers) may prompt changes in resources, time available for parenting, or psychological understandings in ways that change fertility behavior.

Racial And Ethnic Disparities In Pandemic-Era Unemployment Insurance Access: Implications For Health And Well-Being

November 7, 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic, workers not identifying as White non-Hispanic in our sample were more likely to get laid off than White workers. However, these workers were less likely than White workers to receive unemployment insurance at all. Among those who were laid off, these workers and White workers experienced similar increases in material and mental health difficulties and similar gains when they received unemployment insurance.

‘I don’t know nothing about that’: How “Learning Costs” Undermine COVID-Related Efforts to Make SNAP and WIC More Accessible.

November 1, 2022

Scholars have focused on administrative burden or the costs of claiming public benefits. Learning, psychological, and compliance costs can discourage program participation and benefit redemption. Although policy changes during COVID-19 were poised to reduce compliance costs and ease conditions that create redemption costs in each program, the learning costs of policy changes prevented many program participants from experiencing the benefits of these policy transformations.

Parent Discipline and Violence, National Development, and Early Childhood Development in 51 Low-and Middle-Income Countries

September 9, 2022

In Parenting and Child Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Jennifer Lansford, Drew Rothenberg and Kirby Deater-Deckard’s chapter, Parent Discipline and Violence, National Development, and Early Childhood Development in 51 Low- and Middle-Income Countries, focuses on nonviolent discipline, psychological aggression, and physical violence in relation to specific domains of early childhood development.

Predictors of Early Childhood Development

September 9, 2022

In Parenting and Child Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Drew Rothenberg and co-authors chapter, Predictors of Early Childhood Development, analyzes how the representations of different process, person, and context systems fare relative to one another in predicting the early childhood development outcomes

Net Worth Poverty and Child Development

September 7, 2022

These findings provide evidence that net worth poverty has negative associations with children’s development. Net worth poverty predicts lower reading and applied problem scores and increased behavioral problems.

Net Worth Poverty and Child Development

September 6, 2022

This study provides evidence that net worth poverty has negative associations with children’s development.

Impact of a Universal Perinatal Home-Visiting Program on Reduction in Race Disparities in Maternal and Child Health

August 23, 2022

This study demonstrates that a universal approach to early family intervention can have positive population impact while also reducing disparities in outcomes.

Unconditional Cash and Family Investments in Infants: Evidence from a Large-Scale Cash Transfer Experiment in the U.S.

August 1, 2022

A key policy question in evaluating social programs to address childhood poverty is how families receiving unconditional financial support would spend those funds. Economists have limited empirical evidence on this topic in the U.S. We find that the cash transfers increased spending on child-specific goods and mothers’ early-learning activities with their infants.

Effect of Daily School and Care Disruptions During the COVID-19 Pandemic on Child Behavior Problems

August 1, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected American families and children, including through the closure or change in the nature of their care and school settings. For all families, care or school disruptions were related to worse child behavior, more negative parental mood, and increased likelihood of losing temper and punishment.

The Effects of the Emeryville Fair Workweek Ordinance on the Daily Lives of Low-Wage Workers and Their Families

August 1, 2022

Emeryville, California’s Fair Workweek Ordinance (FWO) aimed to reduce service workers’ schedule unpredictability by requiring large retail and food service employers to provide advanced notice of schedules and to compensate workers for last-minute schedule changes. The FWO decreased working parents’ schedule unpredictability and improved their well-being, decreased parents’ days worked while increasing hours per work day, and parent well-being improved.

Intergenerational effects of the Fast Track intervention on the home environment: A randomized control trial

July 27, 2022

This study examined whether the childhood intervention program called Fast Track improves family life into the second generation.

Compliance with Health Recommendations and Vaccine Hesitancy During the COVID Pandemic in Nine Countries

July 20, 2022

Longitudinal data from the Parenting Across Cultures study of children, mothers, and fathers in 12 cultural groups in nine countries were used to understand predictors of compliance with COVID-19 mitigation strategies and vaccine hesitancy. Findings suggest the importance of bolstering confidence in government responses to future human ecosystem disruptions, perhaps through consistent, clear, non-partisan messaging and transparency in acknowledging limitations and admitting mistakes to inspire compliance with government and public health recommendations.

Marriage, Kids, and the Picket Fence? Household Type and Wealth among U.S. Households, 1989 to 2019

April 25, 2022

Researchers examine net worth by the intersection of gender, parental, and relationship status during a period of increasing wealth inequality and family diversification using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances from 1989 through 2019. Despite changing social selection into marriage and parenthood, married parents consistently held a wealth advantage over demographically similar adults in other household types.

Behavioral Economics & Child and Family Policy: A Research Primer

March 22, 2022

Behavioral economics (BE) combines economics with social psychology and cognitive decision-making to offer a broader framework for understanding factors that affect people’s decisions and actions. It provides a way to examine how decisions can be shaped not only by information and costs but by how choices are designed, as well as the context and circumstances of the moment in which decisions are made.

Adolescent Positivity and Future Orientation, Parental Psychological Control, and Young Adult Internalising Behaviours during COVID-19 in Nine Countries

February 14, 2022

This study investigated associations between COVID-19-related disruption and perception of increases in internalising symptoms among young adults and whether these associations were moderated by earlier measures of adolescent positivity and future orientation and parental psychological control.

Transitioning to virtual interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic: Impact on the family connects postpartum home visiting program activity

January 12, 2022

In this paper, we analyze program activity for Family Connects (FC), an evidencebased postpartum home-visiting intervention, during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic began, FC transitioned to a virtual protocol which maintains key psychosocial components of the in-person protocol and adjusts health assessments to address the lack of in-person contact.

Home Visiting Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Program Activity Analysis for Family Connects

January 12, 2022

Early reports highlighted challenges in delivering home visiting programs virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic but the extent of the changes in program implementation and their implications remains unknown. We examine program activity and families’ perceptions of virtual home visiting during the first nine months of the pandemic using implementation data for Family Connects (FC), an evidence-based and MIECHV-eligible, postpartum nurse home visiting program.

Evaluation of a Family Connects Dissemination to Four High-Poverty Rural Counties

January 12, 2022

Home visiting is a popular approach to improving the health and well-being of families with infants and young children in the United States; but, to date, no home visiting program has achieved population impact for families in rural communities. The current report includes evaluation results from the dissemination of a brief, universal postpartum home visiting program to four high-poverty rural counties.

The Intergenerational Transmission of Maladaptive Parenting and its Impact on Child Mental Health: Examining Cross-Cultural Mediating Pathways and Moderating Protective Factors

January 5, 2022

Using a sample of 1338 families from 12 cultural groups in 9 nations, we examined whether retrospectively remembered Generation 1 (G1) parent rejecting behaviors were passed to Generation 2 (G2 parents), whether such intergenerational transmission led to higher Generation 3 (G3 child) externalizing and internalizing behavior at age 13, and whether such intergenerational transmission could be interrupted by parent participation in parenting programs or family income increases of > 5%.

Pre-Pandemic Psychological and Behavioral Predictors of Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nine Countries

December 13, 2021

Across countries, adolescents’ internalizing problems pre-pandemic predicted increased internalizing during the pandemic, and poorer well-being pre-pandemic predicted increased externalizing and substance use during the pandemic.

Culture and Social Change in Mothers’ and Fathers’ Individualism, Collectivism and Parenting Attitudes

November 30, 2021

Historically, individualism vs. collectivism has been a main organizing framework for understanding cultural differences in family life. This study examines parents in nine countries to understand their individualism, collectivism and parenting attitudes. They found parenting attitudes are predicted by a range of sociodemographic factors.

Parent–adolescent relationship quality as a moderator of links between COVID-19 disruption and reported changes in mothers’ and young adults’ adjustment in five countries.

November 23, 2021

This study capitalizes on a longitudinal, cross-national study of parenting, adolescent development, and young adult competence to document the association between personal disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic and reported changes in internalizing and externalizing behavior in young adults and their mothers since the pandemic began.

Light-touch design enhancements can boost parent engagement in math activities

September 1, 2021

Early proficiency in math skills is increasingly being seen as an independent area worthy of early curriculum development and policy investment to reduce socioeconomic disparities in children’s school readiness.

Childhood Gun Access, Adult Suicidality, and Crime

August 18, 2021

Analyses were based on a 20+ year prospective, community-representative study of 1420 children, who were assessed up to 8 times during childhood (ages 9–16; 6674 observations) about access to guns in their home.

Childhood Wealth Inequality in the United States: Implications for Social Stratification and Well-Being

August 1, 2021

Wealth inequality—the unequal distribution of assets and debts across a population—has reached historic levels in the United States, particularly for households with children.

Effect of a Universal Postpartum Nurse Home Visiting Program on Child Maltreatment and Emergency Medical Care at 5 Years of Age: A Randomized Clinical Trial

July 7, 2021

The Family Connects (FC) program, a community-wide nurse home visiting program for newborns, has been shown to provide benefits for children and families through the first 5 years of life.

Maternal Imprisonment and the Timing of Children’s Foster Care Involvement

May 25, 2021

Beth Gifford, Megan Golonka and Kelly Evans wrote a chapter of the book, Children with Incarceratead Mothers Separation, Loss, and Reunification. The chapter summarized findings of their study that examined the timing of mother’s incarceration in relation to her children’s involvement with social services, contributory factors leading to foster care placement, and foster care discharge outcomes.

Impacts of Heightened Immigration Enforcement on U.S. Citizens’ Birth Outcomes

April 1, 2021

Key Takeaways: Harsher immigration law enforcement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement leads to decreased use of prenatal care for foreign-born mothers and declines in birth weight. The uptick in ICE activities under the Trump administration may have long-lasting, harmful effects on U.S.-born citizens. Sheriffs and local governments should terminate their 287(g) agreements with ICE…

Lower neural value signaling in the prefrontal cortex is related to childhood family income and depressive symptomatology during adolescence

April 1, 2021

Lower family income during childhood is related to increased rates of adolescent depression, though the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.

Parenting Across Cultures from Childhood to Adolescence: Development in Nine Countries

February 25, 2021

Edited by Jennifer Lansford and Drew Rothenberg with Marc Bornstein, this book shares findings from a study of parents and children in China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand and the United States. Each chapter is authored by a contributor native to the country examined. Together, the chapters provide a global understanding of parenting across cultures.

Heightened immigration enforcement impacts US citizens’ birth outcomes: Evidence from early ICE interventions in North Carolina

February 3, 2021

We examine how increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities impacted newborn health and prenatal care utilization in North Carolina around the time Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act was first being implemented within the state.

Work Schedule Unpredictability: Daily Occurrence and Effects on Working Parents’ Well-Being

February 1, 2021

Family science has long considered the ways in which parents’ experiences in the workplace can affect families.

Working Families’ Experiences of the Enduring COVID Crisis: Snapshot from Midsummer

November 1, 2020

Key Takeaways: Economic instability remains high among hourly service workers — from both job and household income loss. Food insecurity has increased significantly among working families. Safety net programs can help families maintain their incomes and reduce food insecurity, however benefits are not reaching everyone. Keeping vulnerable families afloat during the pandemic will require policymakers…

Reframing Law Enforcement’s Approach to Domestic Violence Calls

October 1, 2020

The Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy partnered with the Durham Crisis Response Center, the Exchange Family Center, the Center for Child and Family Health, and the Durham County Department of Social Services to create the Durham Integrated Domestic Violence Response System (DIDVRS). DIDVRS is an evidence-based, community-led approach to more appropriately address…

COVID-19 and Parent-Child Psychological Well-being

October 1, 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 has changed American society in ways that are difficult to capture in a timely manner.

Brazil’s Missing Infants: Zika Risk Changes Reproductive Behavior

October 1, 2020

Zika virus epidemics have potential large-scale population effects. Controlled studies of mice and nonhuman primates indicate that Zika affects fecundity, raising concerns about miscarriage in human populations.

Families and Social Change in the Gulf Region

September 15, 2020

Over the last five decades, dramatic social changes have disrupted established patterns of family life and human development in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. This book examines the role of these changes, such as urbanization, educational progress, emigration, and globalization, and describes their implications for Gulf families.

“New Normal” for Children and Families: Developing a Universal Approach with a Focus on Equity

August 1, 2020

This brief provides an overview of the various channels through which COVID-19 has affected the lives of children and families, and proposes 4 key actions to help communities heal and build stronger, equitable systems: Create a “new” public health system centered upon a universal approach to care with a focus on equity. Invest in early…

Ensuring Vulnerable Children and Families Have Access to Needed Health Services and Supports During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 1, 2020

This policy brief focuses on how necessary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic alter the health and social service landscape for children and families, particularly those who were already vulnerable, and offers policy guidance.

Devastating Impact of COVID Crisis on Working Families

April 1, 2020

This brief provides an overview of key ways in which COVID-19 has impacted working families, as drawn from our study’s survey analysis. 1. Drastic Reductions in Work Hours and Increase in Job Loss 2. Harmed Well-Being of Both Parents and Their Children 3. Policy Supports Not Reaching Families 4. Employer-Provided Benefits Reaching Some Families

Mothers’ and Fathers’ Time Spent with Children in the U.S.: Variations by Race/Ethnicity Within Income from 2003 to 2013

February 10, 2020

Using data from the American Time Use Survey, we examine the empirically underexplored ways in which racial and ethnic identity shapes parental time use.

Agricultural Fires and Health at Birth

October 1, 2019

Fire has long served as a tool in agriculture, but the practice’s link with economic activity has made its health consequences difficult to study.