The goal of this proposal is to evaluate the long-term effects of a universal preventive intervention for couples expecting a first child on parent adjustment, parenting, and child outcomes from six to eight years after birth.
A key innovation of this transition-to-parenthood model, called Family Foundations (FF), is the focus on enhancing the coparenting relationship, based on evidence that coparenting is a causal influence on parent adjustment, parenting quality, and child outcomes. Given the positive results of FF to date in two trials, and the program’s potential population reach, it is critically important to understand its potential for enhancing child well-being over a longer period of time and across both family and school settings.
In this project we are assessing not only children’s self-regulation and emotional/behavioral adjustment (e.g., internalizing and externalizing behavior problems), but children’s school adaptation and academic achievement in the early years of elementary school as well.
Additionally, we are looking at whether FF impact on coparenting and parent adjustment lead to changes in parenting quality, which in turn together influence children’s self-regulation and adjustment.
This study has three aims:
Aim 1. To use the randomized controlled design to evaluate the long-term effects of universal, family-focused prevention for couples transitioning to parenthood on family and child outcomes. We are utilizing parent questionnaires, family observation, child interviews and testing, and teacher-report methods to assess family functioning and child outcomes when the children are in first and second grades.
Aim 2. To leverage the experimental design to examine the pathway from coparenting to parent adjustment and parenting quality, which together influence child self-regulation and consequently emotional, behavioral, and school adjustment.
Aim 3. To assess the moderating role of financial strain, prenatal couple negative communication, and child gender on long-term outcomes and mediational pathways.