Me and My Family Project

The Me and My Family Project is a long-term study designed to explore children's security in the family with an emphasis on the relationship between child adjustment and marital conflict. The project is jointly conducted at the University of Rochester and University of Notre Dame. With the final family research session completed in late 2010, the staff continues to process, code, and analyze the vast array of data collected and prepare their findings for presentation and publication.

Starting in 1999, Phase 1 of the project included 235 families with children in kindergarten. Mothers, fathers, and children participated in a multiple levels of analysis measurement battery over three annual measurement occasions until the child was in 2nd - 3rd grade. When the children entered middle school, another three wave phase of data collection began, examining family and child functioning as children progressed through early adolescence. In 2006, an additional 85 families with 7th grade students enrolled in the project, bringing the total number of families involved with the Me and My Family Project to more than 320.

During the six waves of data collection, a variety of innovative observational, interview, analog, self-report, and physiological measures were used to assess children's emotional security and reactions to interparental conflict, children's adjustment, and broader indices of family functioning. In Phase 2, the measurement battery was expanded to include teacher reports, molecular genetics assays, and additional measures of children's peer and dating relationships, sibling experiences, and neuropsychological functioning. The second phase of the project will therefore allow for a more comprehensive assessment of functioning and afford the opportunity to address questions about how children's adjustment varies as a function of the interplay between early and later experiences in the family.

While the quality of marital relations has long been known to affect family functioning and child development, there is little understanding of the specific processes by which marital relations impact families and children. The Me and My Family Project was designed to identify these processes in the context of a family-wide model that incorporates mother-child and father-child relationships, parent adjustment and psychopathology, children's coping and adjustment in family relationships, and their overall development, including their school adjustment, social functioning, peer relationships, and psychological symptoms. Plans are in place to follow up with families as the children transition into adulthood.

Boy at table

Me and My Family Project photo

Official Title: Family Process, Emotional Security, and Child Adjustment

Sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health

Amount Funded:

Phase 1: $1,878,816
for period 1999-2005
Phase 2: $3,164,171
for period 2006-2011

Principal Investigators:

Patrick Davies, Ph.D.
E. Mark Cummings, Ph.D.
Dante Cicchetti, Ph.D.