milwaukee young parenthood study
The transition to parenthood is a difficult phase in life for many couples but especially difficult for adolescent couples who are learning to be parents at the same time that they face the challenges of adolescence (Florsheim et al., 2003; Florsheim & McArthur, 2009). The Young Parenthood Program (YPP) (Florsheim et al., 2009) is a flexible 10-14 week preventive-intervention couples-focused program designed to help pregnant adolescents and their partners develop the interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive co-parenting and parenting practices and to prevent child abuse/dysfunctional parenting. The approach focuses on the couple rather than the individual parent to strengthen the co-parenting relationship and improve communication skills, regardless of whether the couple stays together romantically. The program also provides case management services to assist couples in areas of potential need, including education, employment, and child care. The YPP program is flexible, working with each individual couple in the initial sessions to custom-fit the intervention to their particular needs and resources. We believe tailoring the program to address each couple’s particular needs will improve the level of engagement.
This study is designed to test the Young Parenthood Program (YPP). Our primary hypothesis is that YPP participants will be more warmly engaged with each other and function more positively as parents than participants in the control group.
Approximately 300 couples will be invited to participate in the study. For pregnant adolescents to be eligible for the study, they must meet the following criteria:
September 2010 – September 2015
Once enrolled, pregnant adolescents and expectant fathers will be interviewed and will complete questionnaires on risk and protective factors related to co-parenting and parenting. Couples are then randomly assigned to one of the following groups:
This project is funded by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs and Center for Disease Control.
In addition, the MYPS study is being supported by the Center for Urban Population Health, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Addiction and Behavioral Health Research, and the UW-Milwaukee School of Public Health.
Paul Florsheim, PhD
Sheri Johnson, PhD
Trina C. Salm Ward, PhD, MSW
Megan Howard, MA
Amy Kirby, MSW, LCSW
Laura Ramos, BA
Research Assistants from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center
Aurora Sinai Hospital
Medical College of Wisconsin
ReferencesFlorsheim, P. et al. (2003). Adjustment to parenthood among young African American and Latino couples: Relational predictors of risk for parental dysfunction. Journal of Family Psychology, 17, 65-79.
Florsheim, P. and McArthur, L. (2009). An Interpersonal Approach to Attachment and Change. In J. Obegi and E. Berant, P. (eds.). Attachment Theory and Research in Clinical Work with Adults (pp. 379-409). The Guilford Press.
Florsheim, P., McArthur, L., Hudak, C., Heavin, S. & Burrow-Sanchez, J. (2011) The Young Parenthood Program: A co-parenting counseling program for pregnant adolescents and young expectant fathers. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy.
Florsheim, P., McArthur, L., Varela, A., Hudak, C. Gomez, Y., Heavin, S., Burrow-Sanchez, J. (April, 2009) The Young Parenthood Program: Preventing Intimate Partner Violence among Adolescent Mothers and their Partners. Biennial Meeting the Society for Research on Child Development. Denver, CO.
Florsheim, P. & Moore, D. (in press). Young fathers and the transition to parenthood: An interpersonal analysis of paternal outcomes. Chapter to appear in P. Kerig, M. Shultz & S. Hauser (Eds) Adolescence and beyond: family processes and development. Oxford University Press.
Ngu, L. & Florsheim, P. (in press). The Development of Relational Competence among Young High-risk Fathers across the Transition to Parenthood. Family Process.