Project FUTURE

Families Understanding Toddlers' Unique Relationship Experiences

Project FUTURE is a pioneering study designed to examine how children handle and adjust to a wide array of conflict patterns between their parents, ranging from constructive conflict characterized by cooperation and resolution to destructive conflict characterized by violence and hostility.

Over 200 Rochester-area mothers and toddlers participated in the project over a three-year period, beginning when the child was 2 years old. Families reported experiencing varying levels of destructive and constructive conflict, including some domestic violence.

During the annual mother-child research sessions, multiple domains of functioning were assessed including:

  • Interparental relationships and conflict
  • Parenting abilities, adjustment, and psychopathology
  • Family characteristics and overall functioning
  • Children's mental well-being and health
  • Children's coping and adaptation to specific family relationships
  • Children's temperamental, biological, and genetic characteristics

Project FUTURE seeks to identify the pathways involved in the link between the ways parents approach their conflicts and young children's adaptation within the framework of the emotional security theory. More specifically, the researchers are continuing to process the rich array of information collected to explain how and why children exposed to destructive interparental conflict are at an increased risk for experiencing mental illness later in life and to identify the family and child characteristics that may serve as sources of resilience or additional risk for children in these families.

U of R Press Release

Project FUTURE

Official Title: Domestic Violence, Child Security, and Child Mental Health

Sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health

Amount Funded:

$2,777,599 for period of 2004-2010

Principal Investigators:

Patrick Davies, Ph.D.
Dante Cicchetti, Ph.D.