Project Details

Investigators: Emily Treleaven, PI, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Co-I

Description: Remittances from migrant family members are an increasingly common source of income in migrant-sending areas, and may be an important mechanism through which parents’ migration affects their children’s health. This project seeks to understand children’s likelihood of receiving remittance income, and how remittance income affects th e health and nutrition of children left behind with consideration of parental absence and other migration-related household and community changes. The results of this project will allow child health programs and policies to better address the needs of children in migrant-sending areas and inform our understanding of adult migrants’ motivations and behaviors in destination countries.

Sponsor: NIH/NICHD. R03 HD 098705. 2020-2022. $156,000

Project Details

Investigators: Dirgha J. Ghimire, PI  Keera Allendorf Co-I

Description: This project is designed to provide new information regarding the role of courtship processes on marital quality and marital dissolution, which influence both family and child health and wellbeing. This research is designed to inform public policy and public health about factors that can improve marital quality and reduce marital dissolution to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families.

Sponsor: NIH/NICHD. 1 R03 HD098706 01 A1. $156,000. 2020-2022.

Project Details

Investigators: William G. Axinn, PI, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Co-I, Colter Mitchell, Co-I, Emily Treleaven, Co-I.

Description: Across the past five decades, data creation investments in the U.S. and Western Europe have spurred dramatic breakthroughs in the social and behavioral sciences. The creation of large scientific studies of human behavior and social experience in the general population form a crucial cornerstone of these investments. Because the data from these studies are so important for the construction and evaluation of public policies and programs to improve the health and wellbeing of the population, NICHD places a high scientific priority on research educational tools that significantly expand the scientific use of such data. The primary limitation of these research education efforts thus far is an exclusive focus on data from the U.S. population. This greatly restricts the ability to test the external validity of key findings, raising the possibility that even within the U.S. population findings from any particular study population may not apply to important sub-populations. Research education on data resources from populations living under circumstances quite different from the U.S. and Western Europe are urgently needed so that social and behavioral scientists can quickly and easily test the breadth of external validity of key findings as well as to advance understanding of these different populations. We will leverage NICHD’s long-term investment in the Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS) in Nepal to achieve this high priority objective. We will implement a series of educational, research tool construction, and continuing education activities designed to significantly increase the quality and quantity of international population science. The CVFS is an excellent international population science training resource, featuring a 24-year whole-family panel study with many important characteristics. These include dynamic measures of child health, contraceptive use, mental health, and community context with both DNA and migrant interviews for all family members. We will use this special resource to launch a new multimedia educational program focused on international population science. The program will feature an integrated set of topical short courses, web-based access to those courses, education on high priority longitudinal research tools, innovative “always available” learning tools, and archived tutorials. The importance of international population research continues to grow as interconnections across populations increase. Dynamics of migration, commerce, digital media use, and violent conflict all increase the need for thorough scientific understanding of population dynamics in faraway settings. Our program will supply training in international population research skills to enable higher quality and quantity of research. The tools can be applied to advance science using repeated cross-sectional surveys, surveillance data, longitudinal panel studies, or random control trial studies. Our educational program will feature illustrations with the NICHD Population Dynamics Branch’s (PDB) highest scientific priorities: studying contraceptive use and non-use, health across the life course, and the role of genetic factors.

Sponsor: NIH/NICHD. 1 R25 HD101358 01. $810,000. 2020-2025.

Project Details

Investigators: William G. Axinn, Co-PI, Kate Scott, Co-PI, Ronny Bruffaerts, Co-I, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Co-I, Erin Ware, Co-I, Brady T. West, Co-I.

Description: Family formation processes, including marriage, contraception, and childbearing, are among the most important factors shaping the health and wellbeing of families and children. The substantial, long-term consequences of the parental family for children’s family formation outcomes are among the most well-documented forces of change in the social sciences. However, a powerful factor has been overlooked—parental mental health. Not only are mental disorders highly prevalent the world over, but parental mental disorders are known to have powerful consequences for children, likely to shape their later-life family formation processes. We will address this important gap in research by integrating parental mental disorders into intergenerational models of family formation using a 24-year, prospective family panel study. To advance knowledge of these intergenerational processes using these new measures, we aim to: (1) Generate the first estimates of the role of parental mental disorders in shaping their children’s subsequent marriage, contraception, and childbearing; (2) Use DNA-based polygenic risk scores from mothers, fathers, and their children to assess omitted genetic variable bias in these intergenerational models; and (3) Create and evaluate new prospective measures of sexual risktaking and substance use mechanisms likely to link parental mental disorders to their children’s marriage, contraceptive use, and childbearing. The results will provide three significant advances. One is the first general population investigation of the intergenerational influence of parental mental disorders on children’s marriage, contraception, and childbearing. A second is the first study of the genetic contribution to the intergenerational influences of parental mental disorders on family formation. To date nearly all population models of intergenerational influences on family formation are forced to conclude that unobserved genetic similarities may account for observed associations. We will introduce a new generation of intergenerational research—designs that integrate genetic propensities. The third is a significant advance in our understanding of the role played by children’s premarital sex, sex without contraception, and substance use in linking parental factors to children’s family formation, as these events could mediate this relationship. These steps will significantly advance our understanding of the intergenerational influences on the dynamics of marriage, contraception, and childbearing, all of which are crucial for health and wellbeing.

Sponsor: NIH/NICHD. R01HD099135. $3,780,858. 2020-2025

Project Details

Investigators: William G. Axinn, PI, Narayan Sastry, Frederick G. Conrad,  Peter Granda.

Description: The staff of SRC, the University of Michigan, USA will work closely with NCAER, New Delhi, India and the

University of Maryland, College Park, USA project team to plan and implement the goals of the Center for Innovations in Data Collection

Sponsor: Gates Foundation. 2017-2020/ 59012-Q1423201. $450,261. 2017-2020.

Project Details

Investigators: William G. Axinn, M-PI, Narayan Sastry, M-PI, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Co-investigator.

Description: Development and documentation of basic technical systems for computer-assisted interview (CAI) data collection, and to provide training on use of these systems and on general survey research best practices for the Tamil Nadu Household Panel Study.

Sponsor: World Bank Group. Contract 7193332. $99,933. 2019-2020.

Project Details

Investigators: Mick P. Couper, Project Director, William G. Axinn, Deputy Project Director.

Description: This project involves the planning and conduct of the next ten years of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), with interviewing to be conducted continuously from June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2019. The awarded contract will cover a ten-year period, from September 2010 through May 2020, and include eight years of data collection and three data releases. Working closely and collaboratively with the NCHS/NSFG work team to develop materials and specifications, we shall conduct all the necessary activities, including sample design, pretest, CAPI programming, hiring, supervising and training interviewers, data processing, data file preparation, and data file documentation, for a complete national survey. It is anticipated that the NSFG will be done indefinitely as a continuous national survey, in which interviewing is done every year, producing approximately 5,000 in-person interviews per year with men and women 15-44 years of age, in English and Spanish. Over the life of this project, about 40,000 men and women will be interviewed in person in 8 years. This project also provides for the preparation and release of up to 3 public use data files. The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) is part of a series of face-to-face surveys based on national probability samples that began in 1955. From 1955-1995, the surveys were limited to women of reproductive age. The NSFG is now conducted using Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing (Audio CASI). The continuous NSFG being conducted now also features responsive survey design on an ongoing basis to optimize data production and data set balance across key sample composition parameters.

Sponsor: CDC. 200-2010-33976. $40,058,256. 2010-2020.

Project Details

Investigators: Jennifer E. Glick, P01 PI (PSU), Dirgha J. Ghimire, MI Subcontract PI.

Description: Migration is an increasing global phenomenon impacting individuals and families from most regions of the world. Although migration figures prominently in the family life course of many throughout the world, there is limited understanding of how these dynamics influence the lives of children and adolescents beyond the impact on household economies overall. New information gathered on the role of familial migration and children’s development can help inform programs and policies directed at children in areas with a high prevalence of labor migration. Drawing on theoretical frameworks of migration, child development and the early life course, this program project addresses multiple mechanisms through which migration of family members may alter children’s development, aspirations, education and subsequent life course transitions. The unique contributions of the proposed projects include (1) a comparative focus across three contexts of child socialization and development to determine the extent to which migration is similarly associated with outcomes in the early life course, (2) a comprehensive view of migration within the family life course that incorporates the timing, duration and scope of moves and the relationships of migrants with children left behind, and (3) an interdisciplinary coordination of research teams that include expertise in migration, child development, education, life course transitions and health in each setting. The goal is to join investigators with expertise on distinct developmental periods, transitions in childhood and adolescence and migration along with distinct regional expertise in order to understand how family migration experiences may be similarly associated with outcomes for children and adolescents and the distinctive features of these environments that may lead to differential pathways. The program project takes advantage of these strengths to collect data using comparable methods across settings and focusing on specific developmental stages. The three research projects contained under the umbrella of the program project are able to take advantage of shared data collection and instrument development infrastructure as well as coordination and mentoring activities that fall under the purview of two core units. This approach produces efficiencies that give the
research a much broader reach than would otherwise be possible and facilitates collaboration across research projects. Thus, each project is able to consider the multiple ecologies impacting children’s development, education, expectations and transitions as well as the possible changes in these ecologies introduced by family migration. The organizational structure of the program project takes advantage of the existing collaborations already well-established among the investigators and leverages existing research infrastructure. The two cores in the program are designed to create a synergistic environment that allows each project to share the creative strengths of the entire research team.

Coverage: Nepal.

Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. P01 HD080659. $3,947,000. 2015-2020.

Narayan Sastry, P01 PI,
William G. Axinn, R01 PI,
Deirdre Bloome, Co-I,
Pamela Davis-Keane, Co-I,
Paula Fomby, Co-I.

Description: Intergenerational Influences on Family Formation Processes This project will significantly advance the scientific understanding of key factors shaping family formation processes—both marriage/cohabitation and fertility—in recent cohorts by (A) designing and assessing new data that will create comparable family formation measures across the two primary data sources available for tracking family change in the US, and (B) providing reliable empirical answers to two high-priority research questions. The first question considers how the associations between parental SES and children’s family formation outcomes vary across cohorts and racial groups in response to key changes in economic conditions. The second question asks the extent to which children’s own early-life cognitive and socio-emotional abilities determine their family formation outcomes in young adulthood. Answers to these questions will substantially advance our understanding of change and variation in family formation and will also facilitate the design of policies and programs to help Americans’ achieve their family formation goals. The processes of family formation—the formation of sexual and co-residential relationships, marriage, pregnancy, and childbearing—are among the most influential experiences of adult life, with wide-ranging consequences for the health and wellbeing of families and children. The US National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) documents trends, but it does not provide the longitudinal design required to document long-term associations from childhood to adulthood or across multiple generations. By contrast, because it features years of repeated measures in many domains across the life courses of grandparents, parents, and their children, the PSID and its Transition into Adulthood Supplement (TAS) are unparalleled resources for advancing family formation research. We propose to significantly enhance the value of the TAS for the study of family formation by revising the TAS measures to create direct comparability with NSFG, facilitating comparisons between the nation’s monitoring study and the nation’s most valuable longitudinal study of multiple cohorts. The result will be a tremendously valuable public good for family formation research, which will also allow us to answer the scientific questions we propose to investigate. We will demonstrate the high scientific and policy significance of this advance with the two analyses we propose, one creating innovative new insights into changes in intergenerational influences on family formation process across cohorts and the other significantly advancing our understanding of the long-term consequences of children’s early-life skills and abilities on their early-adult family formation behaviors. Finally, by integrating this project within the P01 proposal, we will coordinate analyses across projects and build key results from Research Project 3 into the analyses for this project, significantly expanding the scope of both bodies of work.

Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. P01 HD087155. $7,859,059. 2016-2021.

Project Details

Investigators: Brady T. West, PI, James Wagner, PI, William G. Axinn, Co-I.

Description: Survey research is a ubiquitous research methodology used in the social, behavioral, and health sciences to make inferences about specific populations. Unfortunately, many of the investigators conducting research in these fields of study have not benefited from rigorous training in the newest scientific approaches to the collection of survey data, and this lack of exposure to important developments in survey methodology can lead to inefficient data collection practices and reduced data quality. This project will develop and implement an organic research education program that will provide participants with exposure to state-of-the-art developments in survey methodology and practical tools for improving their survey data collection activities.

Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. R25HD084385. $609,912. 2016-2021.