Marc H. Bornstein, Ph.D.
Section on Child and Family Research
6705 Rockledge Drive
Rockville, MD 20817
The Child and Family Research Section (CFRS) was established with the broad aim of investigating the ways in which human development is affected by variations in the conditions under which human beings are reared. We investigate dispositional, experiential, and environmental factors that contribute to physical, mental, emotional, and social development in human beings across the first three decades of life. Our research goals are to describe, analyze, and assess (i) the capabilities and proclivities of developing children and youth, including their physiological functioning, perceptual and cognitive abilities, emotional and social growth, and interactional styles; (ii) the nature and consequences of interactions within the family and the social world for offspring and parents; and (iii) influences on development of children's exposure to and interactions with the natural and designed environments. Research topics concern the origins, status, and development of psychological constructs, structures, functions, and processes across the first three decades of life; effects of child characteristics and activities on parents; and the meaning of variations in parenting and in the family across different socio-demographic and cultural groups. Laboratory and home-based studies employ a variety of approaches, including psycho-physiological recordings, behavioral observations, standardized assessments, rating scales, interviews, and demographic/census records in both longitudinal and cross-sectional designs. Socio-demographic comparisons under investigation include, for example, family socio-economic status, maternal age and employment status, parenthood status (adoption, birth), child parity, and daycare experience. In addition to the United States, cultural study sites include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, England, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Peru, and the Republic of South Korea; in all places, we pursue intra-cultural as well as cross-cultural comparisons.
We also conduct broad programs of research in developmental neuroscience and behavioral pediatrics that investigate questions at the interface of child development, biology, and health. Childhood is a time of vulnerability (to accidents, in risk taking), as it is formative in habit development and decision making (nutrition, exercise) for the balance of the life span. Our developmental neuroscience research has several facets, including fetal development and psychological functioning after birth; cardiac function and EEG in psychological development; eye-tracking, perception, and cognition in infancy; and categorization. Our program of research in behavioral pediatrics investigates developmental sequelae of cancer in infancy; children's understanding and coping with medical experiences; parental depression and child development; development following preterm birth; the deaf culture; and behavior problems in adolescence.
To meet this multifaceted charge, we pursue four integrated multi-age, multi-variate, multi-cultural research programs that are supplemented by a variety of ancillary investigations. These research programs represent an en bloc effort. The first program is a prospective longitudinal study designed to explore multiple aspects of child development in the context of major socio-demographic comparisons. The second program broadens the perspectives of the first to encompass cultural influences on development within the same basic longitudinal framework. The third program comprises basic neuroscience research, and the fourth applies extensions of this basic research to behavioral pediatrics. The ultimate aims of these research programs are to promote aware, fit, and motivated children who will grow into knowledgeable, healthy, and happy adults.
Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Cote LR, Haynes OM, Suwalsky JT. Mother-Infant Contingent Vocalizations in 11 Countries. Psychol Sci. 2015;26(8):1272-84.
Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Suwalsky JTD. Parenting cognitions → parenting practices → child adjustment? The standard model. Dev Psychopathol. 2017:1-18.
Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Suwalsky JT. Emotional interactions in European American mother-infant firstborn and secondborn dyads: A within-family study. Dev Psychol. 2016;52(9):1363-9.
Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Lansford JE, Al-Hassan SM, Bacchini D, Bombi AS, Chang L, Deater-Deckard K, Di Giunta L, Dodge KA, Malone PS, Oburu P, Pastorelli C, Skinner AT, Sorbring E, Steinberg L, Tapanya S, Tirado LMU, Zelli A, Alampay LP. 'Mixed blessings': parental religiousness, parenting, and child adjustment in global perspective. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2017;58(8):880-892.
Bornstein MH, Esposito G. Beyond cry and laugh: toward a multilevel model of language production. Behav Brain Sci. 2014;37(6):548-9.