2 projects receive NCFR Innovation Grants for 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — The National Council on Family Relations and its Board of Directors are pleased to announce the two recipient projects of the organization's Innovation Grants initiative, which awards up to two $10,000 research grants per year. The recipients will report on their research at the 2016 NCFR Annual Conference, planned for Nov. 2-5 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The 2015-16 NCFR Innovation Grant recipients, chosen from 34 submitted projects, are:

"Examining Oxytocin Levels to Distinguish Impact of Family Activities on Attachment"

Principal investigators: Karen Melton, Ph.D., and Maria Boccia, Ph.D.

This pilot study will examine the causal influence of family leisure on attachment system. The investigators propose to compare the change in oxytocin levels of 40 married couples. Couples will be randomly assigned to participate in either a core-joint or balance-joint family leisure activity. Oxytocin levels and additional standard measures related to quality of family life will be assessed. This study provides opportunity for interdisciplinary research from three distinct fields — neuroscience, leisure, and family science — to inform a critical gap related to the understanding of family behaviors and quality of family relationships.

Dr. Melton is an assistant professor of family and consumer sciences, and Dr. Boccia is a professor of family and consumer sciences, both at Baylor University.

"How Does Place Matter? Examining Latino Caregiver-Child Dynamics and Youth Problem Behavior in a New Immigrant Destination"

Principal investigators: Dawn P. Witherspoon, Ph.D., and Mayra Y. Bámaca, Ph.D.
Investigator: Stephen Matthews, Ph.D.

This project will examine how place and culture impact parental monitoring and shape associations between parental monitoring and adolescent problem behavior. With more stressors and fewer protective factors, Latino families in new destinations are vulnerable. Immigrant caregivers may experience youth's increased acculturation, creating caregiver-youth cultural gaps. Place influences on families often focus on residential neighborhood (RN); yet, research shows that individuals spend considerable time outside of their RN. This project will examine links between place, caregiver-youth cultural gaps, and parental monitoring; and explore how place and cultural gaps modify associations between parental monitoring and problem behavior to better characterize Latino families' well-being in new destinations.

Dr. Witherspoon is an assistant professor of psychology, Dr. Bámaca is an assistant professor of human development and family studies, and Dr. Matthews is a professor of sociology, anthropology, and demography. All are at Pennsylvania State University.

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The NCFR Board spearheaded the exciting Innovation Grants initiative in 2013 to highlight the interdisciplinary and translational research and practice that the organization is known for. It builds on NCFR's rich heritage and ongoing commitment to promoting innovative interdisciplinary approaches to theory, research, and practice to support the well-being of families. The grant initiative is an investment in innovative interdisciplinary approaches to facilitating the NCFR Global Ends, including:

  • providing opportunities for professional development and knowledge development in family research, theory, policy, education, and practice;
  • supporting the dissemination and application of research and theory based information about family well-being; and
  • establishing standards for research, education, and practice by advocating for the development and advancement of the profession.

The NCFR Board will be accepting proposals for the 2016-17 round of NCFR Innovation Grants in the near future.

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The recipients of the 2014-15 Innovation Grants presented their research at the 2015 NCFR Annual Conference, held in November 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Read the abstracts from their research on the NCFR website:

The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of more than 3,000 family researchers, practitioners, and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, visit the NCFR website at ncfr.org.