Family Science 5: Research & Researchers in the Media in January 2024

Welcome to the Family Science 5, helping you catch up on some of the Family Science research and researchers featured in the media during January 2024.

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  1. POLITICO Magazine hosted a roundtable conversation among family scholars and policy professionals about marriage — "Why Is the Pundit Class Suddenly So Obsessed With Marriage?" — stemming from numerous recent media articles and opinion pieces in response to declining marriage rates in the U.S. NCFR members and past NCFR conference plenary presenters Stephanie Coontz, M.A., and Deadric T. Williams, Ph.D., were among the participating scholars.
  2. The Guardian highlighted new research suggesting that teenagers' mental health may decline the more siblings they have, particularly when siblings are close in age. As part of its reporting, The Guardian links to the 2008 Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) article "Playing Well With Others in Kindergarten: The Benefit of Siblings at Home," written by the same author of the new study, which suggested that children who grow up with at least one sibling may "negotiate peer relationships better" — "the often-noted negative relationship between number of siblings and cognitive outcomes ... does not extend to social skills."
  3. PsyPost featured an article on new JMF research, "Stepfamily Variation in Parent–Child Relationship Quality in Later Life," whose authors include NCFR member Judith A. Seltzer, Ph.D. Using a family systems approach, the researchers examined "how stepfamily structure is associated with both positive and negative parent–child relationships while considering mothers' and fathers' discrepant reports." Among the findings was that older couples in stepfamilies reported fewer positive and more negative relationships with their children than did couples in non-stepfamilies, and that mothers reported more positive relationships than fathers.
  4. Newsweek referenced a 2020 JMF article, "Parenthood and Well-Being: A Decade in Review," in its coverage of viral video content about where "all your 35- to 40-year-old friends have gone after they got married and had kids," highlighting individuals' perspectives on being a Millennial parent. The JMF article, whose authors include NCFR member Kei Nomaguchi, Ph.D., is offered as support that parenting can be both difficult and rewarding, and that "parents shoulder a myriad of challenging responsibilities in raising the next generation over a long stretch of their adulthoods."
  5. The Herald of South Africa republished a recent article from The Conversation, which explored various research on well-being of children and other family members within single-parent families and two-parent families. One piece of research the article referenced is the 2004 JMF article "Family Policies and Children's School Achievement in Single- Versus Two-Parent Families," which found "single parenthood to be less detrimental when family policies equalize resources between single- and two-parent families."