The Child and Family Research Section (CFRS) was established with the broad aim of investigating the ways in which human development is affected by variations in the conditions under which human beings are reared. To meet this charge, the laboratory pursues two integrated multiage, multivariate, multicultural research programs that are supplemented by a variety of ancillary investigations. Across both programs, studies of child development and parenting within the multiple contexts that influence those processes are carried out.
Program I: The Child, the Parent, and the Family across the First Three+ Decades of Life. Program I contains 3 strands of research.
- The Longitudinal Study of U.S. Children and Families. This prospective longitudinal study is designed to explore multiple aspects of child development in the context of major sociodemographic comparisons. Research topics concern the origins, status, and development of psychological constructs, structures, functions, and processes in the first three decades of life; effects of child characteristics and activities on parents; and the meaning of variations in parenting and in the family across different sociodemographic groups.
- Developmental Neuroscience. Also included in Program I are several lines of research that combine experimental neuroscience with the investigation of basic perceptual and cognitive capacities at the beginning of life.
- Behavioral Pediatrics. Finally, Program I includes a range of studies in behavioral pediatrics that investigate questions at the interface of child development, biology, and health.
Program II: Child Development and Parenting in Multicultural Perspective. Program II broadens the perspectives of Program I to encompass cultural influences on development within the same basic longitudinal framework. Study sites include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, England, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Peru, and the Republic of South Korea as well as the United States. In addition, work utilizing large international databases is implemented.