Principal Investigators: Mark Cummings, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, Dr. Patrick Davies, Ph.D., University of Rochester

The Me and My Family Project is a longitudinal, dual-site study with data collection taking place both under Dr. E. Mark Cummings at the University of Notre Dame and Dr. Patrick Davies at the University of Rochester and is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health. The first phase of data collection for the Me and My Family Project began in 1999 and involved 235 families with a child in kindergarten at the start of the study Families were recruited from community samples and enrollment criteria necessitated that mothers, fathers and children had been living together for 3 years prior to the start of the project. During the second phase of data collection a majority of these families and an additional 90 families were recruited to participate as children progressed through early adolescence. Collection for the second phase of data began in 2006 and ended in the fall of 2010. These families now have children in high school.

The primary goal of this project is to explicitly test a comprehensive model of the role of children's emotional security in the family to understand the relationship between marital conflict and child adjustment. While the quality of marital relations have 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 project also seeks to understand these processes in the context of broader family functioning including many aspects of the marital and parent-child relationship and parent psychopathology as they contribute to children's development. The study is designed to examine a variety of child outcomes including the development of psychopathology (e.g., anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, etc.), physiological functioning, school adjustment, and peer & dating relationships. Although many of the same goals apply in phase one and phase two, phase two uniquely assesses children's emotional security and its effects on adjustment in adolescence. A variety of innovative observational, interview, analog, and questionnaire procedures are employed to assess children's emotional security and reactions to interparental conflict, as well as broader family functioning.

This project is not recruiting participants at this time. However, research positions are available. Please see the Special Studies page for more information regarding this.

Selected Publications

Cummings, E. M., George, M. W., McCoy, K., & Davies, P. (in press). Interparental conflict in kindergarten and adolescent adjustment: Prospective investigation of emotional security as an explanatory mechanism. Child Development.

Keller, P. S., Rogers, L. N., Koss, K., Cummings, E. M., & Davies, P. T.(in press). Parental problem drinking, marital agression, and child emotional insecurity: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

McCoy, K., Cummings, E. M., & Davies, P. T. (2009). Constructive and destructive marital conflict, emotional security, and children's prosocial behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50, 270-279.

Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., Cicchetti, D., & Cummings, E. M. (2009). The role of mothers' and fathers' adrenocortical reactivity in spillover between Interparental conflict and parenting practices. Journal of of Family Studies, 23, 215-225.

Cummings, E. M., Schermerhorn, A. C., Davies, P. T., Goeke-Morey, M. C., & Cummings, J. S. (2006). Interparental discord and child adjustment: Prospective investigations of emotional security as an explanatory mechanism. Child Development, 77, 132-152.

For additional information about the Me & My Family Project, please contact Dr. E. Mark Cummings at cummings10@nd.edu.


FSC Homepage