Parenting and Family Processes

The main focus of this research area is to understand how parenting and family processes contribute to children’s health, development and well-being.
Our aims are to:

  • Identify the role of parenting behaviors as protective or risk factors for child health and development
  • Identify parenting and family processes related to adolescent pregnancy
  • Develop strategies to support families as agents of health promotion for their children
  • Implementation of evidence-based, culturally-competent, community-based programs

Current Projects include:

  • Families in Transition Study (Project FIT), PI: East
  • Role of Parenting skills, style and family functioning in pediatric weight loss, PI: Rhee

PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS

Families in Transition Study (Project FIT)

It is widely known that girls who have a teen parenting sister are at 6-times higher risk of a teen pregnancy themselves, and that the younger siblings of parenting teens engage in disproportionately high levels of drug and alcohol use and delinquent and problem behaviors compared to their peers who do not have a teen parenting sister. The goal of this study was to understand how changes in family and parenting dynamics that occur after an adolescent has a baby affect younger siblings' adjustment. Results show that, indeed, increases in younger siblings' problem behaviors 1 year following an older sister's childbearing were associated with increases in family disruption, mothers' stress, and mothers' harsh treatment toward siblings. Study findings have implications for both family and younger sibling adjustment following a teenager's childbearing.

Project Dates: 2007-2011
Total Funds Granted: $365,991
Director: Patricia East, Ph.D
Contact: peast@ucsd.edu

Role of Parenting skills, style and family functioning in pediatric weight loss

Family-based behavioral weight control programs are the most effective means of treating childhood obesity. Yet there is still great variability in a child’s success. The primary goal of this study is to determine, via direct observation methods, whether parenting skills and parenting styles are relevant to child BMI in a family-based weight control program. We will also evaluate whether or not there are differences in parenting skills and styles among overweight and normal weight children. The results of this study will inform the development of more effective treatment programs for overweight children.

Project Dates: 2009-2014
Total Funds Granted: $808,680
Director: Kyung Rhee, M.D., M.S.
Contact: k1rhee@ucsd.edu

Project “The Role of Parenting Skills, Style, and Family Functioning in Pediatric Weight Loss” uses direct observation methods to determine whether parenting skills and parenting styles are relevant to child BMI in a family-based weight control program.