An Overview of the Family Life ProjectLynne Vernon-FeagansMartha Cox
The Family Life Project Community Meeting April 27th, 2006 Goldsboro, NC
Research Investigators • Lynne Vernon-Feagans PI • Martha Cox Co-PI • Patricia Garrett-Peters Research Director • Roger Mills-Koonce Research Director • Nan Crouter PI of Penn State Core • Peg Burchinal Data management and Statistical core • Clancy Blair Project 1: Emotion Regulation ( Mark Greenberg) and Temperament • Lynne Vernon-Feagans Project 2: Competence and Pre-Readiness Skills • Martha Cox Project 3: Family Processes • Nan Crouter Project 4: Work and Family • Linda Burton Project 5: Community and (Debra Skinner) Family Ethnography
Rationale • Most of the research about children is based on studies of urban children • Nearly half of all children live in non-urban (rural) settings • Children in non-urban areas are on average poorer than children in urban areas • There is some evidence that there may be different risk and protective factors in urban versus rural areas
Risk Factors Associated with Non-Urban Life • More maternal depression • More tobacco use • More alcohol and prescription drug abuse • Less access to health and mental health services • Less access and availability to childcare • Longer distances to work and childcare • Less access to public transportation • Fewer good jobs
Protective Factors Associated with Non-Urban Life • Less exposure to random violent crime • More single family homes • More homes and land owned by families • More access to extended family • Stronger connections to religious institutions • Greater sense of community
The Family Life Project Recruit every baby born to a mother who resided in three non-urban counties in Pennsylvania and three non-urban counties in North Carolina between September 2003 and September 2004.
Study Sample • We recruited 1292 families in North Carolina and Pennsylvania in 6 counties • Families were representative of all babies born to mothers in these counties.
Steel Mills in Johnstown , Pennsylvania 20 Years Ago
The three counties in North Carolina were part of a handful of counties in the country that produced the most tobacco in the U.S.
Tobacco is cheap to produce, pest resistant, not dependent on rich soil, and yields large profits
Housing is diverse And affordable In both Pa and NC
Schedule of Data Collection Birth 2 months 6 months 15 months Hospital Home Visit 2 Home Visits Phone Call 1 Home Visit Child Care Visit Child Care Visit 24 months 36 months Phone Call 2 Home Visits Phone Calls 2 Home Visits Child Care Visit Child Care Visit
While many of the parents in our study were born and raised in NC, about 25% come from other parts of the country.
Poverty Definition • Federal Poverty level for a family of 4 in 2004 is $18,850. • We placed families who made less than twice the Federal poverty level ($37,700) as poor because most poverty programs allow families to be eligible up to $185% of the federal poverty level. • The Non-Poor made more than two times the poverty level.
Education % mothers currently in school or training program Educational background (%) • Poor mothers are more likely to have a high school degree or less, while not poor mothers are likely to have at least some college. • About ¼ or our poor mothers are currently in school or some type of training course.
Employment % of mothers working % in day, night, and shift work • Fewer poor mothers are working at 2 and 6 months • Poor mothers are, however, more often work night jobs and shift work than non-poor mothers
Childcare % in some form of childcare % of center-based childcare • At 2 months, roughly 50% of the sample reported some type of childcare arrangement outside of the home • By 6 months, use of childcare had risen to over 75% • Over 1/3 of childcare arrangements use center-based care • The average child spends over 30 hours per week in some form of childcare
Assets • Most non-poor families own their home, while most poor families rent. • 25% of poor families do not have an automobile in the household
Health Insurance • Although almost all children have some sort of health insurance, only 75% of poor mothers have health coverage.
Health • Most mothers did not smoke during pregnancy and • less than half ever tried breastfeeding. • About 15% were low birthweight babies
Early Nutrition % of mothers breastfeeding % of children eating fast food • Poor mothers are less likely to breastfeed their children at early ages, as well as less likely to continue. • By 6 months of age, 25% of children are consuming some type of fast food on a weekly basis.
Early Service Provision • While poor mothers are more likely to participate in pregnancy home visits and early Head Start, they are less likely to participate in breastfeeding services
Residential Instability • During the first 6 months, over 12% of poor families move at least once.
The Constant Television • 64% of poor families have the television on for at least 7 hours each day
Summary • Education is linked to being poor • Owning a home is linked to not being poor • One quarter of poor families don’t have a car • Most mothers are back at work by 6 months • Poor mothers have more irregular work schedules • Babies are generally healthy • All babies have health insurance • Most babies are in childcare by 6 months of age • Less than half the mothers breastfeed their babies and those that do generally don’t continue for long • One quarter of children are eating fast food once a week by 6 months of age • Most families have the TV on most of the day.
Getting the Job Done Collecting Data on 773 North Carolina Families
Recruitment • August 2002-August 2003: FLP communications with pediatricians, ob/gyn, nurses, county health departments, and hospitals; Distribution of pamphlets • August 2003-September 2004: Recruitment at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Wilson Medical Center, and Sampson Regional Medical Center • Nurses and other staff helped FLP recruiters identify 3127 new mothers; many mothers had already heard about the project through the county agencies • Eligibility: agree to participate, live in target counties, English speaking, and no plans to move for 3 yrs • 773 families enrolled across tri-county area
Data Collection • 1 home visit when child is 2 and15 months; 2 home visits when child is 6, 24, and 36 months • Childcare visits (except 2mo) • Phone calls between visits at 10.5, 19.5, 27, and 31 months
Families are visited by 2 home visitors • Each home visit lasts approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours. • Childcare visits last approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours.
The Family Life Project Staff Goldsboro, NC