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General Information about the Family Relationships Project

The Penn State Family Relationships Project is a set of studies, funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, that seeks to understand the family context of socialization from middle childhood through young adulthood. We are currently conducting three studies:

  1. a fifteen-year longitudinal study of European-American families;
  2. a three-year longitudinal study of African-American families; and,
  3. a ten year longitudinal study of Mexican-American families (in collaboration with Arizona State University).

In each study, we gather information on the perspectives and experiences of four family members—mothers, fathers, and two adolescent siblings. We have paid close attention to both the familial and extra-familial contexts, especially those features pertaining to parents' work and family roles.

Additional Funding Obtained to Continue Study of Young Adult Development

In 2009 we received funding to continue to follow the European American families who first participated in the Family Relationships Project in 1995. The siblings, who were 8-10 years old when they first joined our study, are now young adults. The purpose of this new project is to study development in young adulthood, including the role of family experiences in young adults' choices about and adjustment in romantic relationships and in their education and employment.

To learn more about why young adulthood is an important developmental period, visit the two websites:

To date, we have talked to and/or heard from the vast majority of the original families. If you would like more information about our study, please contact us at or 814-865-0095. We would love to hear from you!

Members of the Family Relationships Project Fall 2014