Past Initiatives, Projects, and Affiliated Research

This page serves as an archive of the work, and affiliated work, of the Center for Families. Information on this page is no longer updated. If you have questions about anything you see, please contact cff@purdue.edu.

2013

Emerging Research on Families and Dyads (2010-2013)

Principal Investigator: Melissa Franks, PhD, Human Development and Family Studies

Organizing Committee: Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, PhD, Human Development and Family Studies, Purdue University; Carol Boushey, PhD, Foods and Nutrition, University of Hawaii; Connie Weaver, PhD, Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University; Steve Wilson, PhD, Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University; Kenneth Ferrero, Sociology, Purdue University.

Funding: NIH/HICHD and Center for Families

About the Project:  The Center for Families’ Emerging Research in Families and Health was designed to advance recognition and understanding of family processes in the promotion of individual health and well-being.

The initiative of the Center featured a myriad family influences on individual health in such contexts as diet and nutrition choices throughout life, communication about adopting healthy habits throughout life, and managing the stress of separation and reunion that accompanies military deployments. Although, many health, medical, and social science disciplines address health promotion and disease prevention, the critical role of family is critical across the lifespan.

The lead conference, Research with Dyads and Families prepared family and health researchers with state-of-the-art methods for planning projects involving multiple family members and for appropriately analyzing the resulting interdependent data.

  • May 18-19, 2010 – Research with Dyads and Families: Challenges and Solutions in Working with Interdependent Data
  • May 2011 – Parent and Household Influences on Dietary Intakes Among Children and Adolescents: Research to Enhance Program and Practice
  • September 2011 – Support for Military Families: design and Delivery of Interventions Targeting Risk and Resilience Factors Among Wounded Veterans and Their Families
  • April 29, 2013 – Health Communication and Family Dynamics: beyond the patient-Provider Relationship
  • September 20, 2013 – Aging Families and Health: Social Influences on Health Lifestyles Choices in Later Life; Deborah Carr, PhD, Karen Hooker, Phd, Alex Zautra, PhD,

2010

Head Start: It Works for Indiana Children and Families!

Head Start: It Works for Indiana Children and Families!, Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, James Elicker, and Volker Thomas

2008

Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families during Military Deployment

Co-Director: Shelley MacDermid, co-director, MFRI; associate dean, College of Consumer and Family Sciences

Assistant Professor: German Posada, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Funding: Sesame Workshops and Walmart Stores Inc.

Description: Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment are kits created by the Sesame Workshop and Walmart Stores Inc. to help military families cope with the emotions, challenges, and concerns experienced by the families with preschoolers during deployment. The Military Family Research Initiative (MFRI) at Purdue University was asked to be consultants on the evaluation of bilingual kits for these families.

Through the efforts of Shelley MacDermid, MFRI co-director and associate dean of the College of Consumer and Family Sciences, and German Posada, assistant professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies, MFRI was able to consult on the evaluation of the bilingual kit design. The kits include a Sesame Street DVD (When Parents Are Deployed, with host Cuba Gooding Jr.), materials to help parents discuss these issues, materials to help children understand, and a children’s activity poster. More information about the Talk, Listen, Connect kits can be found at www.sesameworkshop.org.

2007

Families and the First Job (2002-2007)

Project Directors: Shelley MacDermid, PhD
Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Associates: Cathy Flynn, PhD
Rona Schwarz, PhD

Doctoral Students: Cheryl Caron, Boston College
Abigail Christiansen, Purdue University
Ashley Harvey, Purdue University
Marcia Cone-Tighe, Boston College
John Orwatt, Brandeis University
Kathy Rooney, Boston College
Becke Sero-Lynn, Purdue University
Andrew Behnke, Purdue University

Master’s Degree Students: Tina Matz, Boston College
Karen Severns, Boston College

Undergraduate Students: Cindy Smith, Purdue University
Kristi Staley, Purdue University
Jack Liu, Purdue University
Toby Stephenson, Purdue University
Macarena LeCaros, Purdue University

Term of Project: Undetermined

Description: Four communities were recruited into the study.

Rhode Island Community: Recruitment materials (including follow-up notices) were distributed to students in the town’s middle school during winter and spring 2002. Nearly 40 families scheduled appointments for interviews; however, the study drop-out rate was high (approximately 50%), so that only 21 interviews were completed before the end of the school year. Most of the adults in these 21 families participated in the ESM sub-study, and a majority gave permission for the research team to contact the human resources department at their workplaces to gather organizational information. Interviews were conducted with key informants as part of the community study. Additional recruitment packages were distributed to incoming sixth graders during the first week of the 2002-03 school year. Additional interviews were scheduled during fall 2002.

Indiana Community No. 1: Recruitment materials (including follow-up notices) were distributed to students in the town’s middle school during winter and spring 2002. A total of 22 families have completed data collection; we encountered an unexpectedly high percentage of single-earner families. The school was also quite small, with only 300 students. Recruitment continued the following fall with the new seventh grade students.

North Carolina Community: Recruitment packages (n = 970) were distributed in a New Urbanist neighborhood during the third week of August 2002. Approximately 100 forms were returned, with 10 families eligible and interested in participating. The first interviews in this community were scheduled during October. In October, Pitt-Catsouphes met with school administrators to explore the possibility of distributing recruitment packages to families of the middle school that serves the New Urbanist neighborhood, as well as other sections of town.

Indiana Community No. 2: Recruitment materials were distributed to students and all homeroom classrooms in September. Twelve families signed up. All data collection materials were translated into Spanish, and special recruitment activities were designed to recruit minority families.

Primary Research Questions: The study focused on the folllowing research questions

  1. What do employed mothers and fathers see as the content and meaning of the work they do to promote the well-being of their families and contribute to the greater good of society?
  2. What are the relationships between different social settings (workplaces, residential communities, children’s schools) and parents’ perceptions of the work they do to promote the well-being of their families and contribute to the greater good of society?
  3. How do mothers and fathers view the different roles and responsibilities associated with being working parents?
  4. What strategies and tactics do parents of middle school-age children use to manage their work and family responsibilities? What resources, such as benefits at the workplace or programs at their children’s schools, do mothers and fathers use? On a day-to-day basis, what do working parents do to take care of their families?

Evidence of Impact: The following research has either been published or is in the process of being published as a result of this project.

Refereed Journal Articles:

Pitt-Catsouphes, M., Matz, C., & MacDermid, S. M. (accepted). HRD responses to work-family stressors. Forthcoming, Advancing Developments in Human Resources.

Pitt-Catsouphes, M., MacDermid, S. M., Schwarz, R. & Matz, C. (2006). Community contexts: The perspectives and adaptations of working parents. American Behavioral Scientist, 49, 1-22.

Chapters:

MacDermid, S. M. & Harvey, A. (2005). Work and family: What are the connections? In M. Pitt-Catsouphes, E. E. Kossek, & S. Sweet (Eds.), Handbook of work and family: Multidisciplinary perspectives and approaches (pp. 567-586). Mahway, NJ: Erlbaum.

MacDermid, S. M. (2004). (Re)considering conflict between work and family. In E. E. Kossek & S. Lambert (Eds.), Work and life integration in organizations: New directions for theory and practice (pp. 19-40). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Invited Presentations at National or International Research Conferences:

MacDermid, S. M. (2005, November). Reflections on multiple meanings of work and family. Plenary remarks at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Phoenix, Arizona.

MacDermid, S. M. (2004, February). Policies to support work and family: At home, at work, in the community and in the society. Presentation at “Sustainable Careers: New Options for a New Workforce: An Interdisciplinary and International Research and Policy Forum,” New York, New York.

Pitt-Catsouphes, M. & MacDermid, S. M., with Christiansen, A. T., Cone-Tighe, M., Dobbins, J., Flynn, C., Harvey, A., Matz, C., Schwarz, R., & Severns, K. (2003, February). Community responsiveness to the needs of working families. Plenary address at “From 9-to-5 to 24/7: How Workplace Changes Impact Families, Work, and Communities,” an academic research conference sponsored by the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation and the Community, Families and Work program at Brandeis University, Orlando, Florida.

Pitt-Catsouphes, M. with MacDermid., S., & Schwarz, R. (2003, June). Community contexts: The perceptions and adaptations of working parents. Presented at Workforce/workplace Mismatch: Work, Family, Health, and Well-Being, a conference sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Population Research Center of the University of Maryland.

MacDermid, S. M., Flynn, C., & Pitt-Catsouphes, M. (2002, April). Difficulty and ease in the daily lives of employed parents. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Council on Contemporary Families, New York, New York.

Refereed Presentations:

Ramadoss, K., Schwarz, R., Ruprecht, K. M., MacDermid, S. M., & Pitt-Catsouphes, M. (2007, April). Children’s perceptions of their parents’ work: Do parents’ job characteristics and support in the workplace matter? Presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, Massachusetts.

Christiansen, A., & MacDermid, S. M. (2006, November). Support and interference in the daily lives of employed spouses. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Harvey, A. M., & MacDermid, S. M. (2006, November). Couple agreement and disagreement regarding attitudes towards breadwinning. Presentation at the meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ramadoss, K., MacDermid, S. M., Flynn, C., & Pitt-Catsouphes, M. (2005, November). Generativity in a community context. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Phoenix, Arizona.

Pitt-Catsouphes, M., MacDermid, S. M., & Schwarz, R. (2005, March). Community, work, and family: Change and transformation. Presentation at international conference “Community Context: The Perspectives and Adaptations of Working Parents,” Manchester, United Kingdom.

MacDermid, S. M. & Pitt-Catsouphes, M. (2004, November). Role balance: What is it and what is it not? Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, Florida. Part of a symposium “Exploring Role Balance,” by Flynn, C., MacDermid, S. M., & Pitt-Catsouphes, M.

Harvey, A. & MacDermid, S. M. (2004, November). Role balance and role hierarchy. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, Florida. Part of a symposium “Exploring Role Balance,” by Flynn, C., MacDermid, S. M., & Pitt-Catsouphes, M.

MacDermid, S. M. Pitt-Catsouphes, M., Christiansen, A., Harvey, A., Cone-Tighe, M., & Schwarz, R. (2003). When work and family collide: A replication and extension of Greenhaus and Powell. Presentation at “From 9-to-5 to 24/7: How Workplace Changes Impact Families, Work, and Communities,” An academic research conference sponsored by the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation and the Community, Families, and Work Program at Brandeis University, Orlando, Florida.

Doctoral Dissertations:

Tang, Chiung Ya. (2006, September). The Relationships between marital commitment and housework.

Harvey, Ashley. (2005, November). Couple agreement and disagreement regarding attitudes towards breadwinning: Implications for marital well-being. (Currently adjunct professor at Colorado State University)

Master’s Degree Theses:

Schultheis, Mary. (2007, March). Work benefits and father involvement.

Vaught, Kate G. (2006, October). The relationship between role balance and marital quality as moderated by conflict resolution styles. (Currently an Extension educator in Kentucky)

Tolhurst Christensen, Abigail. (2004, April). Nonstandard work schedules and marital quality. Co-chair with Douglas Sprenkle. (2004 Beulah Gillaspie Outstanding Master’s Student Award. Currently a doctoral student at Purdue University; 2005 Gladys Vail Scholarship)

Center on Aging and the Life Course Symposium

The Center for Families co-sponsored “Interdisciplinary Intersections: Interpersonal Relations Over the Life Course,” the Center on Aging and the Life Course’s 2007 fall symposium. The event, held September 21 in the Stewart Center, drew more than 100 attendees from across Purdue’s campus.

Three featured speakers examined interpersonal relations over the life course and how they are influenced by age norms, stereotypes, and emotion regulation. They addressed topics such as why adult children still live at home with their parents and the struggles of communicating with aging adults.

Katherine Newman, the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes Class of 1941 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, presented “Failure to Launch? Delayed Departure from the Family Home in Western Europe and Japan.” Mary Lee Hummert, a professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, shared “Communicating Age: Stereotypes as Psychological and Interpersonal Phenomena.” Susan Charles, an associate professor of sociology ecology at the University of California at Irvine, presented “It’s Not as Bad as We Think: Understanding Emotion Regulation Amongst Age-Related Gains and Losses.” After their presentations, the speakers held a panel session that lead to lively discussion from participants.

The center found co-sponsoring such a high-quality, well-received event beneficial and looks forward to future partnership opportunities with the Center on Aging and the Life Course.

2006

Initiative for Families in Business  (2002-2006)

Co-Directors: Holly Schrank, professor, Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing
Douglas Sprenkle, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies
Shelley MacDermid, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Tina Alsup, secretary and clerical

Funding: Coleman Foundation, $25,000
Coleman Foundation, $5,000

Description: The purpose of this project was to build a program in family entrepreneurship. The project began with research to determine needs of Indiana’s family entrepreneurs. Needs identified cover a wide variety of topics, from business technical assistance to hiring of family members to estate planning. Papers were written to share what we learned and with the academic family business profession.

An educational meeting was held in spring 2002 for Purdue parents who are family business owners. Sixty-five participants heard a prominent family business consultant speak about bringing younger family members into the family business.

Evidence of Impact: Several presentations about family business topics were made at the Lafayette Entrepreneurship Academy.

The following papers were written and presented:

Zody, Z., Sprenkle, D., MacDermid, S. M., & Schrank, H. (2006)
Drawing the line: How are boundaries between family and business systems related to their strengths and performance? Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 27, 185-206. 2003 Impact Factor: No data found

Sharan, H. L. (2001, August).
The three dimensions of family business. Publication handout for the Farm Progress Show, 2001. This handout is now being used in CSR 208, the undergraduate family business course.

MacDermid, S. M. (2000).
Work and family in family businesses. Invited address at the European Foundation, Dublin, Ireland.

Zody, Z. B. (2000, August).
A systematic approach to family business consulting: Understanding the boundaries that distinguish the systems. M. S. Thesis, Purdue University.

2004

Community Child Care Research Project (2001-2004)

Directors: James Elicker, associate professor and principal investigator, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Susan Kontos (1949-2003), professor and original principal investigator, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Carolyn Clawson, research associate and project coordinator (2004-2005)
Demetra Evangelou, research associate and project coordinator (2001-2003)

Research Assistants: Soo-Young Hong, Rebecca Sero Lynn, Candace Olmstead, Kay Schurr

Funding: Child Care Bureau in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Total Direct Costs: $422,976

Description: The research used existing, qualitative, and quantitative data to describe and compare the “child care landscapes” in four diverse Indiana communities, identifying the community-level variables that were most strongly associated with the type and quality of care selected by working-poor families. In addition, linkages between child care characteristics, and child development and parental work outcomes were determined.

During the first phase, 24 community key informants were interviewed, eight parent focus groups were conducted, and existing community data was analyzed to describe child care utilization and identify important community child care context variables for low-income families.

Then, during the second phase, 300 working-poor families whose young children are in out-of-home child care (75 in each community; approximately split between infant/toddlers and preschoolers) and their child care providers in four Indiana communities were assessed, including rigorous measurements of child care structural and process quality, child development outcomes, and parent.

The third, and final, phase involved data analysis and generating reports based on the results and their policy implications.

Evidence of Impact: The study provides comprehensive data on the child care experiences and outcomes of more than 300 low-income, working families in Indiana. The results give a detailed picture of the types and quality of child care used by these families. In addition, the associations between child care quality and child development and parent employment outcomes are analyzed. Learn more about the study’s impact by reading the Community Child Care Research Project Final Report.

A Labor-Management-Research Partnership (2002-2004)

Co-investigators: Robert Perrucci and Shelley MacDermid, Purdue University

Partner: Noel Beasley, UNITE
Bemis Company, Terre Haute, Indiana

Faculty: Sally Jane Kiser, PhD, assistant professor of labor studies, Indiana University
Jennifer Swanberg, PhD, assistant professor of social work, University of Kentucky

Pre-Doctoral Students: Ted Brimeyer, Department of Sociology
Erika King, Department of Child Development and Family Studies
Brian Ruby, Department of Sociology
Chiung-Ya Tang, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Funding: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, $423,000
Bemis Company Foundation, $30,000
ILGWU, $25,000

Description:This project studied the impact of shift work on workers, their families, and their community activities. The setting was a single manufacturing facility with approximately 900 employees. The first stage of the project involved collecting base-line data on workers and their families. The second stage involved a labor-management team effort to modify shift work arrangements. The third stage involved assessment of the impact of the intervention introduced in stage two.

Research Questions: The project is concerned with three main questions:

  1. How do workers experience working nonstandard schedules compared to regular daytime schedules? What are the implications for marital quality, family relationships, and interactions with children?

How do gender, family structure, and life cycle interact with reactions to shift work? How do the presence and ages of children influence families’ experiences with shift work?

  • How does worker and family participation in shaping alternative work arrangements affect their subsequent response to the time demands of work?

Relationship Building: Project staff established a significant presence at the research site. They were in the plant at least one day a week during both day and night shifts. A bulletin board, locked mailbox, and office space next to an employee lunchroom were designated for the project.

The project logo was on the bulletin board and mailbox, and it was printed on hats and shirts worn by research staff when in the plant. The team held meetings with union and management leadership and with production supervisors.

A joint statement about the partnership project, signed by three management and three union representatives, was mailed to the homes of all employees. A separate announcement from the TIME project staff was posted on company and union bulletin boards, and it was mailed to the homes of all employees.

Evidence of Impact: Data collection in the early stage of the project involved direct observation in the plant, informal discussions with hourly employees and supervisors, and six focus groups with 31 production employees. In December 2002, a questionnaire was administered to onsite production workers and mailed to homes (413 responded for a 58% participation rate). In May 2003, we distributed a questionnaire to supervisors and crew managers (18 responded for a 42% return). In June 2003, we mailed a questionnaire to the spouses/partners of all production workers (116 responded for a 23% return). These three questionnaires constituted baseline data.

In November 2003, we created a Smart Time Team composed of five upper/middle management staff members and five union leaders/members. The team met on a regular basis to review findings from the surveys and to discuss new initiatives designed to improve the quality of work and work-life. The agreed-upon initiatives were described in a report mailed to all production workers and supervisors. In April, June, and July 2005, we distributed second questionnaires to all production workers, supervisors, and spouses/partners (response rates were 41%, 70%, and 17% respectively).

In January 2006, we presented a preliminary draft of the project’s final report to a joint meeting of corporate-level management, plant management, and union officials. In June 2006, the final report was mailed to all hourly employees, supervisors, and managers. The labor-management-research partnership that was the basis for this project led to a number of new policies and practices in the plant that were designed to improve the quality of work-life. The new initiatives include greater flexibility in the use of vacation time, new in-plant policies on cell phone use, regular worker-supervisor meetings to discuss work-related issues, and greater worker discretion at their work stations.

The below publications, dissertations, and presentations have resulted from this project.

Perrucci, R., S. MacDermid, E. King, C. Tang, T. Brimeyer, K. Ramadoss, S. J. Kiser, and J. Swanberg. “The Significance of Shift Work: Current Status and Future Directions.” Journal of Family and Economic Issues 28 (December 2007): 600-17.

Perrucci, R., and S. MacDermid. “Time and Control in a 24/7 Environment: Clock Time, Work Time, Family Time.” In Workplace Temporalities: Research in the Sociology of Work, edited by Beth Rubin, 343-68. Bangalore: Elsevier, 2007.

Brimeyer, T. “Management-Labor Relations and the Influence of Age on Worker Commitment to Union and Company.” PhD diss., Purdue University, 2007.

Perrucci, R., and S. MacDermid. “Shift Work, Job Demands, and Quality of Work/Family Life: Does Worker Control Matter?” Unpublished paper.

Perrucci, R., and S. MacDermid. “Job Demands, Worker Control Patterns, and the Quality of Work/Family Life.” Presented at the meetings of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Philadelphia, PA, August 12, 2005.

Ramadoss, K., S. MacDermid, R. Perrucci, S. J. Kiser, and J. Swanberg. Meetings of the National Council on Family Relations, Minneapolis, MN, November 8-11, 2006.

Brimeyer, T., and R. Perrucci. “Career Stages, Resources for Control, and Company Commitment.” Presented at the meetings of the American Sociological Association, Montreal, Canada, August 13, 2006.

Perrucci, R. and S. MacDermid. “Worker Discourse on Time and Control.” Presented at the meetings of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, New York, NY, August 11, 2007.

2003

CARe: Communities Against Rape (1997-2003)

Director: Janie Long, PhD, assistant professor in marriage and family therapy, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Project Manager: Shruti Poulsen, MA, graduate administrative professional, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Omari Dyson, BS, SADI contact
Dawn Pratt, MS, technical assistant
Belinda Richardson, MMFT, monthly report coordinator and graduate assistant, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Funding: Indiana State Department of Health, Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant, Crime Bill Amendment.
January 1997-September 1999, $339,405
October 1999-September 2000, $100,000
October 2000-September 2001, $100,630
October 2001-September 2002, $83,000
October 2002-September 2003, $90,516

Description: The continuation of a comprehensive statewide effort was proposed to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and rape to youth ages 11-19 in Indiana. The Center for Families focuses its efforts on the following objectives:

  1. The establishment of an accurate statewide database
  2. Evaluation of a community building and coordination efforts statewide
  3. The provision of ongoing evaluation-based technical assistance to the administrators of community and school-based educational intervention programs

Beginning in 1997, the Center for Families developed a comprehensive incident report form that went out to 1,293 sites to use starting in August 1998. The first data report covered the last quarter of 1998. Based on feedback from sites and the Sexual Assault Database of Indiana (SADI) advisory board, the incident report was revised and shortened. The second data report covered 1999. The new incident report form was mailed out in early 2000. At its height, more than 300 sites in more than 60 counties reported incidents of rape and sexual assault to the center on a monthly basis. The report for data collected in 2001 was completed in September 2002.

The Center for Families conducted interviews with the commission, the working group, and community grantee leaders in 1998 and 1999, and again in 2000 and 2001.

The center provided technical assistance to community and school-based intervention programs from 1997 to 2003. Instruction on forming good evaluation procedures is presented at annual CARe trainings. The center received evaluation data from these interventions, performed analyses, and wrote comprehensive reports for the communities on the effectiveness of their programs.

Evidence of Impact: The number of people impacted by CARe over the years has reached into the hundreds of thousands. Because the nature of the center’s involvement was evaluatory, there was little direct contact between the recipients of interventions and the center. However, the center provided services for the other members of the grant.

Since beginning in 1998, the center received reports of approximately 1,600 rapes and sexual assaults for SADI. This data was compiled annually in a report that detailed victim and perpetrator profiles, and location and time of assault. From this data, legal criteria for various types of sexual assaults was obtained and reported. These reports were presented to only CARe constituents: the Indiana Department of Health, the CARe working group, and participating SADI sites.

Analysis of interviews with community members were completed and submitted for publication in a scholarly journal. Reports to the principal investigator of the overall CARe grant’s progress were prepared every two months, summarizing the work completed by the working group members and community grantees.

In July 1998, the center produced a technical assistance binder that featured guidelines for developing good evaluation strategies. This binder was given to all community grantees of the CARe Initiative. In addition, the center prepared statistical summary reports for each grantee that collected evaluation data. The center generated approximately 10 reports per year, which were submitted to the principal investigator and the community to which the data pertain.

CFS Professional Development Program (2000-2003)

Project Director: Shelley MacDermid, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Funding: Cooperative Extension Service, $52,631

Description: Lifelong learning is now much more than just a buzzword. Professionals in many fields regularly seek opportunities for additional training, often a prerequisite for continued practice. Many professionals are interested in formal university training, as opposed to conferences and other less formal opportunities, but do not wish to seek a degree. To date, there have been only limited opportunities for human service professionals to receive advanced training from faculty at Purdue University. The Consumer and Family Sciences Professional Development Program expands educational opportunities and makes Purdue expertise more readily available to professionals across the state. The program also offers Extension educators not only new opportunities for their own training, but also a new set of tools they can make available to others.

Phase 1 was completed at the end of summer 2000. During this phase, the first course was designed and offered to child care resource and referral specialists who spent three days on the West Lafayette campus learning how to work more effectively with employers. Phase 2 took place in 2001, when courses two and three were offered. One targeted human service professionals, and the other focused on high school educators.


Benchmarking Study (2001-2003)

Director: Shelley MacDermid, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University

Co-Director: Donna Lero, associate professor of family studies, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Staff: Autumn Furey Johnson, graduate research assistant
Chiung-Ya Tang, graduate research assistant
Linda Hawkins, research associate

Funding: Internal funding from the Center for Families and the Centre for Families Work and Well-being

Description: This project grew out of suggestions generated at the 2000 meeting of the Center for Families advisory council. Autumn Furey Johnson, the center’s graduate assistant at the time, had a strong interest in this project and took on some leadership responsibilities in designing and implementing the study. Another graduate assistant, Chiung-Ya Tang, provided valuable help in coding and analyzing data.

Data were collected in three ways. First, the Web sites of each center were reviewed and coded for the content of their mission and their activities. Next, the director of each center was sent a survey asking them for detailed information about their staffing and finances. Finally, about 12 directors were interviewed by telephone and asked questions about their perspectives on collaborations, plans for the future, and challenges they face. About 130 centers were included in the database for the study; approximately 25 provided detailed financial information.

Evidence of Impact: We believe this is the first study of its type. Centers for children and families have become much more common in recent years, but little is known about them as a group.

Once the study was complete, we distributed it to all participants; we may consider conducting a similar study every five years or so as a service to the field and a learning opportunity for us. It is even possible that centers would pay for participating, if they felt that our product was useful.

We presented the results, A Benchmarking Study of Centers for Families and Children (pdf), at the 2002 National Council on Family Relations annual meeting in Houston, Texas. It earned an Outstanding Poster Award from the organization’s Education and Enrichment Section.

Web-Based Workshop in Family Systems Theory and Application for Head Start Workers​ (2002-2003)

Director: Volker Thomas, PhD, associate professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Assistant: Nilufer Kafescioglu, graduate student, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Funding: 21st Century Extension Funds, $10,900

Description: The purpose of the project was to develop and disseminate a theory- and research-based, continuing-education program for Head Start workers and to make the workshop/course available statewide to Head Start programs by delivering and managing it via the Internet.

The program director and a graduate assistant developed the workshop/course curriculum using WebCT. Once the course was uploaded onto the Web, we pilot tested it with two Lafayette Head Start staff members. Based on their feedback, we revised the course curriculum. Then, we disseminated it to the other staff and revised the curriculum until it fit their needs. The workshop/course curriculum is currently available to be disseminated to other Head Start programs across Indiana.

Nurturing Families Initiative (2000-2003)

Director: Shelley MacDermid, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies; director, Center for Families

Assistant Director: Cathy Flynn, post-doctoral research scientist, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Rona Schwarz, post-doctoral research associate, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Graduate Students: Abigail Tolhurst, Ashley Harvey, Candice Olmstead, Beckie Sero

Undergraduate Students: Cindy Clark and Kristi Staley

Partner: Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Boston College School of Social Work

Funding: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, $399,923

Term of Project: August 2000-May 2003 and beyond

Description: The Nurturing Families Initiative originally consisted of a single study. It focused on parents of middle school children and was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Data was gathered in four communities with populations of 30,000 to 50,000; two communities in 2000 to 2001 and two the following academic year.

Susan Kontos and Jim Elicker received funding for a second project that joined the Nurturing Families Initiative – Families and the First Job. They received approximately $700,000 from 2000 to 2005 to study the child care situations faced by low-income families.

Evidence of Impact: The executive summary is below.

The Nurturing Families Initiative was a multi-method investigation that gathered data from working parents and middle school-age children. The purpose of this study was to gain new insights about the intricate connections between paid work and caregiving among working families.

Members of 199 working families with middle school-age children who resided in six different communities in the United States participated in this study. In addition, researchers collected information from human resource departments where the parents worked, as well as from social service providers in the communities.

The investigators gathered data through: written questionnaires, in-person interviews, experience sampling methods, and follow-up telephone interviews.

This report provides summary information from the first analyses of the data gathered from 2002 to 2003. The study was designed to focus on four major questions:

  1. What do employed mothers and fathers see as the content and meaning of their first job?
  2. What resources do mothers and fathers marshal to carry out the first job?
  3. What day-to-day behaviors are associated with the first job?
  4. How do different social settings (such as workplaces, residential communities, and schools) offer opportunities and constraints for fulfilling the demands of the first job?

Analyses conducted to date have already contributed to our understanding of these questions. For example:

  • 85% of the parents in our study told us that they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their jobs.
  • When asked to grade their jobs, 40% of the parents gave their jobs an A.
  • Nearly three-fourths of the parents said there was less than a 20% chance that they would leave their jobs in the next six months, and 25% of the human resource professionals reported that retaining quality employees was a major problem for their workplace.
  • 58% of the parents reported that they have complete or a lot of control over their work schedules.
  • About half (49%) of the parents rated their benefits packages as above average, as did the human resource managers, with 51% indicating that their packages were better than most.
  • Although only 14% of the parents reported that, within the past month, their personal lives had interfered with their work lives to a moderate/very great extent, nearly one-third (32%) said that their work lives had interfered with their personal lives.
  • Parents who reported that their work interferes with their personal lives were more likely to give their jobs a grade of C, D, or F than those who did not.
  • Most of the parents (68%) reported that they are successful/completely successful balancing their paid work and family life. However, 35% said they felt used up at the end of the workday often/nearly always, 24% felt burned out by the stress of work often/nearly always, and 22% felt emotionally drained from their work often/nearly always.
  • 22% of the parents reported that it is difficult/very difficult to have meals with their families.
  • Parents appear to be actively engaged in efforts to effectively manage their work and their family responsibilities. For example, 40% or more of the parents reported that they used the following strategies and tactics always or nearly always. They encouraged their child(ren) to be self-sufficient in a way that is appropriate for their ages; planned schedules out ahead of time; completed all their work during work time so that they don’t have to bring work home; [and their spouses] covered for each other with regard to household or family responsibilities if either had more to do at work than usual; changed their schedules around, as best they could, to fit in special needs and events at home or at work; and saw the humor in their experiences at home and at work.
  • Most of the parents (58%) said they never/almost never ask their supervisors to temporarily reduce their workloads as a way to manage their work and family responsibilities.
  • Greater percentages of parents who reported that they had at least some control over their work hours were more likely to say that they were high users of two groups of strategies: limiting/adjusting work to family priorities and being efficient/planful, than those with little or no control over their hours.
  • Parents who indicated they had high work-to-family interference were more likely to report high use of two types of strategies to manage their work and family: limiting non-work activities and high use of adjusting priorities and standards.
  • Overall, the working parents gave the grade of B or B+ to their schools, neighborhoods, and communities.
  • A majority of the parents indicated that their communities can be welcoming places for preteens and teens, with two-thirds (67%) saying that they agreed/strongly agreed that their communities celebrate the talents and accomplishments of these young people.
  • Approximately four of every 10 of the parents (37%) agreed/strongly agreed that people in our community seem to believe in the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
  • About one-third of the parents (31%) strongly agreed that their community is a good place to raise children
  • Parents who reported higher use of community-based strategies, such as encouraging their children to become involved in community activities, had higher role balance (r = .21, p = .000), higher family functioning (r = .21, p = .000), and higher life satisfaction (r = .21, p = .000) when compared to those who reported lower use of these community-based strategies.
  • Parents who identified their communities as having strengths with regard to neighborhood relationships, values that welcome diverse families, family supportiveness, and accessibility scored higher on outcomes, such as role balance, general family functioning, and life satisfaction.
  • Whereas 60% of the parents gave a grade of A to their children’s school for supporting the total development of middle school-age children, only 35% gave an A for promoting positive relationships with parents, and 20% gave an A for promoting strong families.
  • Only one-quarter of the children gave their schools a grade of A for having activities for families.
  • 44% of the working parents reported high involvement in their children’s educational experiences outside of school, such as helping with homework. One-fourth (26%) said they had high involvement in the school activities, such as the PTO.
  • Most of the middle school-age children (77%) reported that they spent just enough time with their mothers, whereas 19% felt that they spent too little time with their mothers during weekdays.
  • However, only one-half (54%)of the adolescents said they spent enough time with their fathers during the week, with 40% reporting that they spent too little time with their fathers during weekdays.
  • Approximately one-third (37%) of the adolescents reported that their fathers sometimes came home from work in a good mood, 58% reported that they always came home in a good mood, and only 4% reported that they never came home in a good mood.
  • The findings were very similar for mothers: 35% of the adolescents reported that their mothers sometimes came home from work in a good mood, 60% reported that they always came home in a good mood, and 4% reported that they never came home in a good mood. We anticipate that the findings of this study will expand ongoing debates and discussions about the intricate intersections of the first job and paid work. Furthermore, we expect that the results of this investigation will stimulate additional research interest in the nature of the first job of working families.

2002

Crossroads: Teens Making Ethical Decisions

Project Director: Aadron Rausch, Extension specialist and assistant director for outreach, Center for Families and Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Co-Director: Joan Jurich, associate professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Cathy Flynn, research associate
Katie Kensinger, research assistant
Nithyakala (Nithya) Karuppaswamy, research assistant

Funding: Purdue University Cooperative Extension, 21st Initiative January 2000-December 2001, $77,531.65

Term of Project: 2002

Description: During a time when our nation was distraught by reports of school violence, increasing juvenile crime, and teen pregnancy, the Center for Families looked for ways to make a difference. Crossroads: Teens Making Ethical Decisions was a dual-focused curriculum targeting middle-school youth and their parents. The curriculum raised awareness and taught skills to help teens make informed, ethical decisions. The parenting component brought the family into the picture by teaching parents the same ethical principles and strategies for engaging youth in ethical discussions and activities. The program’s success rested on building an ethical community where peers, schools, families, and communities each do their part to support the ethical development of youth.

Sloan/BPW/CFF Conference (2001-2002)

Director:Shelley MacDermid, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Partners: Business and Professional Women USA
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alliance of Work-Life Professionals

Funding: $30,000

Description: This was a very exciting event for us! The Center for Families served as the academic partner for a national conference on work and family held in San Francisco. About 200 researchers attended the conference to hear six plenary speakers and almost 100 research presentations. Even better, the conference was scheduled to overlap with the annual meeting of corporate work-life practitioners, so that attendees could see sessions at both meetings. The center was publicized in all materials for both conferences, and our tabletop display was up throughout the entire meeting.

Tippecanoe County Child Care Needs Assessment

Director: Susan Kontos, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Sciences

Assistant: Demetra Evangelou, visiting lecturer, Department of Child Development and Family Sciences

Staff: Candace Olmstead, graduate student, Department of Child Development and Family Sciences

Funding: Tippecanoe County First Steps/Step Ahead Council
October 2001-March 2002, $5,000

Description: The purpose of this research was to accurately and systematically assess the child care needs of families in Tippecanoe County in order to design services and inform policymakers to better serve the needs of families and children.

Outcomes: The following activities were completed during this project:

  • Met with Tippecanoe County Educare Committee
  • Reviewed and summarized existing child care data in Tippecanoe County
  • Reviewed and summarized existing demographic data in order to establish trends and estimate future need
  • Compiled a description of all child care services in Tippecanoe County
  • Implemented a brief survey that was distributed to parents, employers, and child care providers in Tippecanoe County
  • Interviewed key community members and local child care experts to determine perceived child care needs and trends
  • Analyzed and summarized all needs assessment data and wrote a comprehensive final report

Lewis Assessment Library (2001-2002)

Director: Volker Thomas, PhD, associate professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Assistant: Autumn Furey Johnson, graduate student, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Funding: Center for Families

Description: The purpose of this project was to systematically catalog about 240 assessment instruments that Robert Lewis gave to the center when he retired. The assistant and director developed a cataloging system based on substantive assessment areas (e.g., general functioning, specific areas of functioning) and assessed target populations (e.g., individuals, couples, families, etc.). Then, they acquired cataloging software and entered all instruments into the database after assigning them to the different categories. The hard copies of the instruments were sorted by categories to reflect the same order as in the electronic database.

At completing the catalog, they sent out an announcement to the College of Consumer and Family Sciences making the library available to any interested users. They may contact the project director, search the database, and then copy the instrument of interest. Several graduate students have contacted the director for information when they searched for assessment instruments.

It’s My Child Too (IMCT) (2001-2002)

Director: Douglas Powell, PhD, professor and head, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Assistant: Chuck Calahan, project coordinator, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Rita Hipps, secretary and administrative support
Janet Walter, graduate assistant
David Caldwell, Extension educator and trainer
Curt Emanuel, Extension educator and trainer
Linn Veen, co-author of It’s My Child Too

Funding: Indiana Family and Social Service Administration
Indianapolis Foundation, Tecumseh Area Partnership, $13,000 for one year

Description: It’s My Child Too (IMCT) is a short-term, parent-education program designed for fathers 14 to 25 years old in need of parenting knowledge and skills. Primary emphasis is on the healthy development of children. The program is viewed as a first step in heightening awareness of the roles, responsibilities, and skills of fatherhood.

Development of the program began in August 1994. During this phase, an information base was developed through interviews with young fathers, judges, Cooperative Extension officials, and other experts, and a review of the research literature on young fathers. The project’s second phase entailed developing a preliminary curriculum, which was implemented at four pilot sites in the project’s third phase. Extensive revisions, including the addition of new material, were made based on the pilot programs. During the third phase, a series of two-day intensive trainings on using the program were held throughout Indiana for Extension educators and other professionals working with young fathers. Sixty-eight of Indiana’s 92 counties (74%) have been trained to implement IMCT, and the curriculum has been purchased by agencies in more than 25 other states, including Alaska, Texas, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin, in addition to a growing program, the Young Fathers’ Program, in Ontario, Canada.

Videotape and a detailed training manual to support local train-the-trainer efforts were developed during the project’s fourth phase. Also, videotape of typical situations or vignettes in the curriculum are now available for program sessions. The curriculum has been revised and expanded with stronger attention to responsible decision-making. Three trainings on the new videotape, revised and expanded curriculum, and train-the-trainer manual were held in Indiana in fall 2000 and spring 2001.

Ninety-four percent of child support professionals expressed the need for relevant resource materials for fathers and families. The Bringing Dads and Kids Together awareness packet was produced and distributed to 523 professional offices in the state. Titles in this resource packet included: “What Dads Do,” “How Fathers Make a Difference,” “Stresses Fathers Face,” and the IMCT brochure.

A recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Honors Award, this program has gained national attention as a unique and effective parent-education program for young dads.

2000

Vigo County Child Care Needs Assessment

Vigo County Child Care Needs Assessment, Gail Johnston Ulmer and Barbara A. Clauss

1999

Bartholomew County Accreditation Readiness Study

Bartholomew County Accreditation Readiness Study, Katnerine R. Kensinger, James G. Elicker, and Shelley M. MacDermid

Qualitative Human Service Program Evaluation:
Developing and Field Testing a Manual with Indiana HIV Prevention Programs (1998-1999)

Director: Fred Piercy, PhD, director, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Assistant: Sharon Deacon, MS, doctoral student in marriage and family therapy, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Funding: Center for Families, $5,000

Description: Qualitative evaluation methods help human service workers capture the personal impact of their programs – the stories of participants and the meanings behind the statistics. They also engage consumers of services as co-evaluators of these services.

In this project, we developed a manual to teach qualitative evaluation methods to human service providers. We also conducted a training workshop in qualitative evaluation for directors of selected HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Indiana and then consulted with them as they attempted to apply qualitative evaluation methods within their own programs. Moreover, we made a number of professional presentations on qualitative evaluation methods to state and national conferences and distributed the qualitative evaluation manual widely.

Evidence of Impact: This project resulted in a clear and engaging training manual that demystifies qualitative evaluation for human service workers. We directly reached 11 HIV/AIDS prevention workers through our one-day workshop and follow-up consultations, and have distributed more than 100 training manuals to interested professionals. We have also made eight professional presentations on the subject of qualitative evaluation and have written eight professional publications on this subject.

Status of Indiana Families Today (SIFT): Living Poor in Indiana

Director: Janet Gordon, 4-H/youth agriculture program leader, Purdue Cooperative Extension

Assistant Director: Aadron Rausch, Extension specialist and assistant director for outreach, Center for Families

Staff: Carol Rogers, statistician, Indiana University Business Research Center
Rita Hipps, secretary and administrative support

Funding: Center for Families and Purdue Cooperative Extension

Description: In 1999, an estimated 680,000 Hoosiers, more than one-third of them children, were living in poverty. Living Poor in Indiana, the 1999 volume of the Status of Indiana Families Today (SIFT) is a publication of the Center for Families in collaboration with the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and Indiana University Business Research Center. SIFT provided a comprehensive assessment of poverty in the state and information about how policy changed Indiana families. SIFT offered county-by-county information and compared Indiana to its neighbors to provide accurate information about families. Consistent with the Center for Families’ mission, SIFT was a tool to inform and support research-based educational outreach that could support family friendly policies, programs, and services.

Newton County Child Care Needs Assessment

Newton County Child Care Needs Assessment Report

Directors: James Elicker, PhD, associate professor of developmental studies, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Co-Director: Gail Johnston Ulmer, PhD, post-doctoral research associate, Center for Families

Staff: Ting Liu, graduate research assistant, data collection

Funding: Newton County Step Ahead Council, Sponsored by the Newton County Planning Council
January 1999-September 1999, $6,000

Description: Child care issues are important to both parents and employers. Each year, business and industries lose money due to lost work time from employees’ child care problems. The Newton County Step Ahead Council approached the Center for Families in April 1998 about conducting a child care needs assessment. The assessment was conducted between January and May 1999. The needs assessment was conducted using:

  1. Existing information relevant to child care needs
  2. Phone interviews with community professionals
  3. Focus group interviews with parents and child care providers
  4. Parent child care survey questionnaires

The results indicated that the demand for child care in Newton County was expected to remain over the next five years. At the same time, there was a shortage of quality child care in Newton County, as well as a limited supply of licensed child care in the county. Lack of sick care was the most common problem identified by parents. Many Newton County families used a babysitter or unlicensed child care home, but preferred to use a different form of child care. Finally, many Newton County parents were forced to miss work or leave early due to child care problems.

The child care needs we identified and our recommendations in the needs assessment provided a basis for discussion and planning of more effective child care support services in Newton County.

Download the full Newton County Child Care Needs Assessment.

Evaluation of Indiana Child Care Financing Initiative (1997-1999)

Director: Douglas Powell, PhD, professor and head, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Amanda Wilcox-Herzog, coordinator
Fiona Innes, graduate research assistant

Funding: Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, $108,797

Description: This project evaluated the Indiana Child Care Financing Initiative, an innovative statewide effort to build public and corporate awareness of community child care needs; build public/private partnerships to meet local child care needs; expand licensed child care capacity; increase the number of credentialed providers; and reduce high rates of turnover among child care professionals. The design of the symposium emphasized local control and decision-making as part of a general movement toward devolution in human service policies.

Evaluation: The evaluation addressed two major sets of questions:

  1. What are the contributions of the Indiana Child Care Financing Initiative to (1) increases in the capacity of licensed center and family child care facilities, the number of new child care slots, and the number of new providers serving children; (2) new efforts to increase public and corporate awareness of child care needs and quality; and (3) improvements in the local infrastructure for child care (e.g., establishment of a child care fund or training systems for providers)?
  2. In what ways do private/public partnerships engage in local planning processes that result in expanded and enhanced child care quality in a community: (1) What are the guiding principles and key practices of establishing successful partnerships at the local level regarding child care issues; (2) How is the private sector participation in the local planning process initiated and sustained over time; and (3) What major substantive issues do local task forces address, and how do local child care conditions and community resources contribute to the planning process and its outcomes?

A report on the first set of questions was released in March 1999 at the Governor’s Conference on Early Childhood. A report on the stages of local partnerships (second set of questions) was released the following October.

Indiana’s First Steps Early Intervention System:
Contributions to the well-being of infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families (1995-1999)

Director: Susan Kontos, PhD, professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Co-Director: Karen Diamond, PhD, associate professor, Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Staff: Janet Wagner, project coordinator
Jianhong Wang, research assistant
Amanda Wilcox-Herzog, research assistant

Funding: Bureau of Child Development, Family and Social Services Administration, July 1995-September 1999, $200,000

Description: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the ways in which First Steps was meeting the needs of Indiana’s infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Data collection was completed in February 1999, and the project officially ended in September 1999. A technical report of the evaluation outcomes and an executive summary were released in August 1999.

Data from families and service providers were collected for 207 children and families. These data provided information about the impact of First Steps services on the lives of children and their families. Data were also collected a second time from 66 of these families. These data provided information about the ways in which children’s development, families’ needs, and early intervention services changed over the course of a year in a child’s life. The evaluation’s results are summarized below.

What impact have early intervention services had on child and family well-being? Family well-being was greater when the child with a disability was more manageable, there were fewer children in the family, and when there were fewer community risk factors. Family well-being was also greater when early intervention services were higher in quality and more family centered. Child well-being was greater when children had fewer developmental problems and when they were experiencing higher-quality services.

What factors were associated with children’s and families’ participation in natural environments? The type of disability and parental education were not factors influencing whether a child participated in natural environments. Parental awareness of natural environments as a choice was crucial, however, especially for families who wanted their child to participate in community-based early childhood programs.

What concerns did families express and how well did services meet their needs? Most families (almost two-thirds) expressed no concerns. When concerns were expressed, lack of information, especially not being made aware of all options, was the concern mentioned most frequently.

1998

Clinton County Child Care Needs Assessment

Clinton County Child Care Needs Assessment, James Elicker, Aprile Benner, Georgia Hahn, Jodie Hertzog, and Katherine Kensinger

Focus Report

Focus Report, Laura E. Hess

Measures of Individual Functioning: Stress and Self-Esteem

Measures of Individual Functioning: Stress and Self-Esteem, Katie Kensinger and Shelley M. MacDermid

For the Greater Good: Contributions of the School of Consumer

Improvising New Careers: Accommodation, Elaboration, & Transformation

Taste the World: Celebrating Diversity in Early Childhood Programs Through Meals and Snacks

Work/Life: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Benchmarks in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment Programs

Benchmarks in Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Programs: A Review of the Literature

Child Care: It’s Good Business. The Indiana Tool-Kit for Employers and Community Planners

1994

An Introduction to Research on Work-Family Relationships: A Collection of “Top Tens”

An Introduction to Research on Work-Family Relationships: A Collection of “Top Tens”, Shelley M. MacDermid, Suzanne Cook, Christy Hung, Kevin Lyness, Margaret E. Walls, Amy Emmelman, and Gyesook Yoo

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