Current Projects

Current research projects of our lab include:

Illinois Strong Couples Project.  The Illinois Strong Couples Project is designed to build a sustainable community of practice that disseminates evidence-based programming for help-seeking couples throughout the state of Illinois. In collaboration with University of Illinois Extension, the project will disseminate and evaluate a leading, efficacious online program for relationship distress to residents throughout the state of Illinois program. Using a quasi-experimental longitudinal design, program evaluation will occur with respect to individuals’ physical and mental health as well as relationship well-being.

Illinois Youth Survey – Secondary Data Analyses.  In collaboration with the Center for Prevention Research and Development, we are examining the ways in which family processes influence substance use among youth across the state of Illinois.  The Illinois Youth Survey is a biennial survey of tens of thousands of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders across the state of Illinois. Current analyses involving this unique data set are focused on the following questions: (1) Are there particular ages during adolescence when parental monitoring is most beneficial for deterring youth substance use, and (2) What are the unique effects of shared family mealtimes.for youths’ mental, behavioral, and physical health?

Mealtime Matters. The Mealtime Matters project, an initiative led by the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center, aims to identify current trends in the organization and implementation of mealtimes for families in the 21st century. The current study being implemented by our lab is designed to examine how individual, family, and socioeconomic factors influence mealtime habits and consumer purchasing behaviors that have direct influence on the nutritional health of adults and children.

Couple Recovery Project. In a partnership with The Couples Lab at the University of Miami, we are examining trajectories for relationship functioning among help-seeking couples prior to receiving formal relationship assistance. This current study will allow us to examine that nature of change in couples that are actively seeking out help for their relationship, but have yet to receive services – what percentage of couples improve, what percentage maintain their current level, and what percentage continue to get worse? This study will also examine predictors of couples’ relationship patterns to identify characteristics associated with couples were able to restore their relationship as well as characteristics of couples who continued to get worse and thus in the most need of services.

ProSAAF – Secondary Outcomes. The Protecting Strong African American Families (ProSAAF) program was developed by scientists at the Center for Family Research at the University of Georgia (UGA). The program, which targets two parent African American families with a pre-adolescent child, has been shown to improve couples’ relationship functioning, coparenting, and parenting. In current work being conducted by our lab and researchers at UGA, we are investigating the benefits of ProSAAF participation on a broader constellation of factors, including children’s development as well as adults’ physical health.