African American Mom and Dad doing math work with daughter

Family Involvement Laboratory (FIL)

Completed Projects

Sociocultural Context, Parent's Adaptation, and Parenting: Socialization of Young Latino Children of Immigrant Parents (FAMILIA)
Latino children grow up with an intense sense of social orientation toward the group; mothers emphasize the value of respeto and educación, which underscores respect for authority and the importance of being polite and socially accepted. Although the literature suggests that these skills are important predictors of school success, Latino children do not seem to benefit from it as they consistently score lower on cognitive and achievement tests. This study proposes to address this issue by collecting longitudinal data on a sample of families enrolled in Early Head Start. This proposed study is framed by ecological and family system theories and focuses on the strengths these families have as well as the challenges and opportunities they face as they raise their children.

Low-income Fathers’ Linguistic Influence on their Children’s Language Development (Joint with Dr. Meredith Rowe and the Language Development and Parenting Lab)
The purpose of this project is to better understand the role of low-income minority fathers in their children’s language development. The data are drawn from the National Early Head Start Evaluation study. Latino and African-American father-child dyads were videotaped interacting in the home at child age 24 months.  Follow-up assessments were conducted with the children in Pre-K. We are transcribing and coding the interactions and will combine our language data from the transcripts with the publicly available data from the national study to examine the role of father language in children’s language and cognitive development.

Latino Parents Focus Groups
We are currently conducting a study of Latino mothers and fathers in the Washington, D.C. area to explore the parenting issues and experiences unique to this population of low-income minority families. The focus group will inform the development of culturally appropriate measures of Latino parenting in an effort to more accurately examine maternal and paternal involvement as well as its impact on child functioning.

Healthy Attachment Promotion for Parents and Infants: Fathers Study
We have completed our longitudinal study of fathers and mothers whose children ages 0 to 3 years were enrolled in Early Head Start. Families were seen in the home and EHS center, wherever convenient for the family. Protocols included an interview of questionnaires ranging from family demographics to parent involvement to mental health. Parents were also separately videotaped in free and semi-structured play with their children. Children were assessed for cognitive, language, behavioral, and socioemotional development. The goals of the study were (1) to understand the nature, frequency, and type of father-child interactions in a very disadvantaged sample of families; (2) to understand how mother-father relationships influence mother-child and father-child interactions at present and over time; and (3) to understand how father and mothers' involvement influences the development of children during their early years with measures paralleling work at New York University allowing for future comparison and analysis.

Early Predictors of Latino Toddler's Cognitive and Social Behaviors
We examine linkages among mothers' and fathers' age of arrival, maternal sensitivity, and father engagement at 9 months on toddlers' cognitive and social behaviors at 24 months using a national sample of Latino infants and their parents from the ECLS-B and structural equation models.

HAPPI Language Project
The HAPPI language project is a study of low-income fathers’ linguistic interaction with their toddlers.  Fathers were videotaped interacting in a semi-structured play activity with their child and transcripts were then coded for both fathers’ and children’s functional use of language as well as type, token, and type-token ratio.

NYU Early Head Start Newborn Intensive Study
We collaborated with Jacqueline D. Shannon, Ph.D. of Brooklyn College and Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Ph.D. of New York University in an in-depth qualitative study of the parenting experiences of over 45 couples in the New York area. Participants were a subsample of ethnically diverse families who were part of the larger on-going National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project, which began in 1999. Families were followed at regular intervals since the time of their initial interview.  Funding from NIH and ACYF enabled us to conduct parallel in-depth qualitative interviews with mothers and fathers in order to understand the details of parents' experiences in their own words. The interviews covered several topics including parent-child relationships, mother-father relationships, parent's past and current relationships with other family members and friends, ethnic identity, acculturation and discrimination, and educational and work experiences.