Featured Articles Fall 2011

Journal of Family PsychologyMy Child and I Are a Package Deal: Balancing Adult and Child Concerns in Repartnering After Divorce
Edward R. Anderson and Shannon M. Greene
Journal of Family Psychology 25(5):741-750, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: Parents who repartner after divorce must decide how to balance the potentially competing demands of their own desire for adult companionship and romance with the needs of their children for parental attention and affection. In this study, the authors assessed individual differences in divorced custodial mothers' orientation toward repartnering, characterizing it as a continuum, ranging from more child focused to more adult focused. Mothers who are more adult focused tend to be older, more educated, more likely to be employed outside the home, and exiting marriages of longer duration. In addition, using longitudinal data from in-home interviews, mothers who are more adult focused reported having lower rapport with their children, spending less time in joint activities with their children, and their children in turn reported lower rapport with their mothers. Levels of adult-focused orientation are relatively stable over time but increase when mothers become involved or interested in new partners. Using longitudinal diary data over a 2-year period, the authors demonstrated that mothers who are more child focused engage in more active management of emergent relationships in repartnered families and that adult-focused and child-focused mothers respond to different concerns. Whereas all mothers become more active in managing emergent relationships when both partner and child are resisting one another, mothers with greater child focus respond more to concerns of the child, and mothers with greater adult focus respond more to the concerns of the partner. Implications for intervention with divorced families are discussed.

American Education Research JournalThe Racial/Ethnic Composition of Elementary Schools and Young Children's Academic and Socioemotional Functioning
Aprile D. Benner & Robert Crosnoe
American Education Research Journal 48:621-646, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: This study attempted to untangle how two dimensions of school racial/ethnic composition-racial/ethnic diversity of the student body and racial/ethnic matching between children and their peers-were related to socioemotional and academic development after the transition into elementary school. Analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort revealed that school racial/ethnic composition was more strongly associated with children's academic, as opposed to socioemotional, outcomes. Students had higher achievement test scores in more diverse schools, especially when they also had more same-race/ethnicity peers in these diverse schools. These patterns were particularly strong for White students. Having more school peers of the same race/ethnicity, regardless of the overall level of diversity in the school, was associated with positive socioemotional development.

Journal of Family PsychologyThe Effects of Autocorrelation on the Curve-Factors Growth Model
S. Natasha Beretvas, Daniel L. Murphy & Keenan A. Pituch
Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal 18: 430-448, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: This simulation study examined the performance of the curve-of-factors model (COFM) when autocorrelation and growth processes were present in the first-level factor structure. In addition to the standard curve-of factors growth model, 2 new models were examined: one COFM that included a first-order autoregressive autocorrelation parameter, and a second model that included first-order autoregressive and moving average autocorrelation parameters. The results indicated that the estimates of the overall trend in the data were accurate regardless of model specification across most conditions. Variance components estimates were biased across many conditions but improved as sample size and series length increased. In general, the two models that incorporated autocorrelation parameters performed well when sample size and series length were large. The COFM had the best overall performance.

Annual Review of SociologyResearch on Adolescence in the 21st Century
Robert Crosnoe & Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
Annual Review of Sociology 7:439-460, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: Recent methodological advances have allowed empirical research on adolescence to do better justice to theoretical models. Organized by a life course framework, this review covers the state of contemporary research on adolescents' physical, psychological, interpersonal, and institutional pathways; how these pathways connect within primary ecological contexts; and how they relate to broader patterns of societal stratification and historical change. Looking forward, it also emphasizes three future challenges/opportunities, including efforts to illuminate biosocial processes, link adolescence to other life stages, and account for the influence of major social changes (e.g., the new media).


Journal of Family PsychologyIt Takes Two To Tango: Why Older People Have the Best Relationships
Karen L. Fingerman & Susan T. Charles
Current Directions in Psychological Science 19(3):172-176, 2010
Find it at UT

Abstract: Older adults report more positive feelings and fewer problems in their relationships than do younger adults. Prior theories have focused on aspects of the older adult (e.g., social cognition, motivation) to explain these findings. We propose a social input model to explain why older adults describe themselves as having better relationships. This model maintains that older adults' reports of positive social ties reflect both their own actions and those of their social partners. When adults of any age find themselves in a tense interchange with an older adult, they minimize tensions to facilitate positive emotional experiences. These behaviors may stem from perceived time remaining in the relationship, forgiveness or abrogation of blame, and stereotypes of aging. Findings suggest socioemotional regulation in late life involves actions on the part of both older adults and their social partners.

Journal of Family PsychologySupport to Aging Parents and Grown Children in Black and White Families
Karen L. Fingerman, Laura E. VanderDrift, Aryn M. Dotterer, Kira S. Birditt & Steven H. Zarit
The Gerontologist 51(4): 441-452, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: Purpose: Black and White middle-aged adults typically are in a pivot position of providing support to generations above and below. Racial differences in support to each generation in the family remain unclear, however. Different factors may account for racial differences in support of grown children versus aging parents. Design and Methods: Middle-aged adults (aged 40-60 years; 35%, n = 216 Black and 65%, n = 397 White) rated social support they provided each aging parent and grown child. Participants reported background characteristics representing their resources and measures of needs for each family member. Interviews also assessed beliefs about obligation to support parents and grown children and rewards from helping. Results: Multilevel models revealed White middle-aged adults provided more support to grown children than Black middle-aged adults. Demands from offspring, beliefs about support, and rewards from helping explained these racial differences. Black middle-aged adults provided more support to parents than White middle-aged adults. Beliefs about support and feelings of personal reward from providing support explained this difference but resources and demands did not. Implications: Racial differences varied by generation (parent or offspring). The prolonged transitions common for White young adults explained racial differences in support of offspring. Middle-aged adults may treat support of parents as more discretionary, with cultural ideas about obligation and personal rewards guiding behaviors.

Journal of Family PsychologyOnly as Happy as the Least Happy Child: Multiple Grown Children's Problems and Successes and Middle-aged Parents' Well-being
Karen L. Fingerman, Yen-Pi Cheng, Kira Birditt, & Steven Zarit
The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 66B(5): 527-537, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: Objectives. Middle-aged parents' well-being may be tied to successes and failures of grown children. Moreover, most parents have more than one child, but studies have not considered how different children's successes and failures may be associated with parental well-being. Methods. Middle-aged adults (aged 40-60; N = 633) reported on each of their grown children (n = 1,384) and rated their own well-being. Participants indicated problems each child had experienced in the past two years, rated their children's successes, as well as positive and negative relationship qualities. Results. Analyses compared an exposure model (i.e., having one grown child with a problem or deemed successful) and a cumulative model (i.e., total problems or successes in the family). Consistent with the exposure and cumulative models, having one child with problems predicted poorer parental well-being and the more problems in the family, the worse parental well-being. Having one successful child did not predict well-being, but multiple grown children with higher total success in the family predicted enhanced parental well-being. Relationship qualities partially explained associations between children's successes and parental well-being. Discussion. Discussion focuses on benefits and detriments parents derive from how grown progeny turn out and particularly the implications of grown children's problems.

JAHDifferential Record Linkage by Hispanic Ethnicity and Age in Linked Mortality Studies: Implications for the Epidemiologic Paradox
Joseph T. Lariscy
Journal of Aging and Health 23(8): 1263-1284, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: Objectives: This study examines how the linkage of surveys to death records differs for Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites and how such differences affect estimates of ethnic differences in U.S. adult mortality. Method: I use data from the 1989-2000 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) linked to the National Death Index (NDI) through 2002. Analyses assess how match score and match class vary by ethnicity, nativity, and age and whether mortality hazard ratios are sensitive to shifts in match criteria. Results: Linkage quality is lower for Hispanic and foreign-born adults than for non-Hispanic White and U.S.-born adults. Modification of the linkage criteria determine whether the Hispanic mortality advantage is observed among middle-aged adults. Discussion: The accuracy of adult mortality estimates depends on the quality of the linkage between surveys and death records

Social Science & medicineThe interaction of personal and parental education on health
Catherine E. Ross & John Mirowsky
Social Science and Medicine 72:591-599, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: The association between education and good health is well established, but whether the strength of the association depends on other social statuses is not. We test a theory of resource substitution which predicts a larger correlation between education and health (measured for physical impairment) for people who grew up in families with poorly-educated parents than for those whose parents were well educated. This is supported in the Aging, Status, and Sense of control (ASOC) survey, a representative national U.S. sample with data collected in 1995, 1998, and 2001. The reason that parental education matters more to people who are poorly educated themselves is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, specifically to smoking and being overweight. Finally, as the poorly educated age, the negative health effects of their parents' low educational attainment get worse.

Sociological PerspectivesPoverty among Asian Americans in the 21st Century
Isao Takei & Arthur Sakamoto
Sociological Perspectives 54:251-276, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: Using the American Community Survey from 2005 to 2007, this study investigates absolute and relative poverty among Asian-Americans. The results indicate that both absolute and relative poverty are slightly higher among Asians than among whites overall as well as by nativity status (i.e., foreign born vs. native born). More detailed analysis suggests, however, that these racial differences appear to be largely associated with factors relating to immigration. Poverty is much higher among recent immigrants than among those who have been in the United States for more than five years, and foreign-born Asians are more likely to be recent immigrants than are foreign-born whites. Furthermore, after controlling for basic demographic characteristics, poverty is actually lower among foreign-born Asians than among foreign-born whites. Among native-born adult Asians (i.e., those who are not dependent on the incomes of immigrant parents), poverty is lower than among whites especially in terms of being characterized as members of the "working poor." However, significant ethnic differentials within the Asian category are evident. Poverty rates higher than those for whites continue to be evident among the native-born adult offspring of Cambodians, Hmong, and Thai. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

Psychological MethodsIndividual Differences Methods for Randomized Experiments
E. M. Tucker-Drobb
Psychological Methods 16(3): 298-318, 2011
Find it at UT

Abstract: Experiments allow researchers to randomly vary the key manipulation, the instruments of measurement, and the sequences of the measurements and manipulations across participants. To date, however, the advantages of randomized experiments to manipulate both the aspects of interest and the aspects that threaten internal validity have been primarily used to make inferences about the average causal effect of the experimental manipulation. This article introduces a general framework for analyzing experimental data to make inferences about individual differences in causal effects. Approaches to analyzing the data produced by a number of classical designs and 2 more novel designs are discussed. Simulations highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the data produced by each design with respect to internal validity. Results indicate that, although the data produced by standard designs can be used to produce accurate estimates of average causal effects of experimental manipulations, more elaborate designs are often necessary for accurate inferences with respect to individual differences in causal effects. The methods described here can be diversely applied by researchers interested in determining the extent to which individuals respond differentially to an experimental manipulation or treatment and how differential responsiveness relates to individual participant characteristics.