Several important studies have contributed to our understanding of the factors and mechanisms by which experiences, behaviors, and traits in adolescence and emerging adulthood forecast the capacity to be a competent parent and raise a healthy, prosocial child. We are building on this work by leveraging a large, longitudinal intervention study (PROSPER) to: (AIM 1) Assess a developmental model that links key adolescent risk and protective factors to three critical factors in emerging adulthood (relationship competence, mental health, and risky behavior including substance use). These emerging adult factors, measured at ages 19–22, are in turn hypothesized to predict the quality of the early childrearing environment, measured at ages 24–28. Finally, we trace these pathways forward to estimate the unique, relative, and combined influences of these adolescent-to-young-adulthood pathways on key domains of child adjustment. (AIM 2) Evaluate, with the model developed in AIM 1, whether previously demonstrated intervention effects on adolescents’ family relationships, peer network dynamics, and risky behaviors (substance use and conduct problems) in this project's sample lead to impact during the family formation period on the childrearing environment and early childhood adjustment.
To pursue these aims, we are conducting home visits across three years with 350 young adult parents (and their families) whom we have followed since 6th grade in a randomized trial of PROSPER. The results of this project will yield insights into the adolescent and emerging adulthood factors that can be targeted to improve childrearing environments, as well as yield new information on the contribution of adolescent-focused substance use prevention to the adjustment and health of the next generation.
Principal Investigator: Mark Feinberg
Principal Investigator on Subcontract: Cleve Redmond
Funder: National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development