Human Development and Family Studies

Heather Helms

Current Projects

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National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families

Project Description: Dr. Julia Mendez Smith in Psychology, Dr. Danielle Crosby and Dr. Heather Helms, both in Human Development and Family Studies, are collaborating on a series of projects in early care and education. This multidisciplinary team is committed to conducting high quality, impactful research, as well as mentoring the next generation of researchers who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate training at UNCG.

Unidos

Project Description: Unidos is a study that examines marital well-being in sociocultural context in an understudied and rapidly growing segment of the United States population: low-income, Mexican-origin couples in the early years of parenthood. The focus of the proposed research is on how new parents’ relational resources moderate the link between sociocultural stressors and marital well-being during the early years of parenthood. Understanding how sociocultural stressors are linked to husbands’ and wives’ marital well-being (Aim 1), examining the implications of within-couple mismatches in spouses' sociocultural experiences and values for marital well-being (Aim 2), and identifying the types of relational resources and strategies that moderate those links (Aim 3) is a first step in identifying unique sociocultural strengths and vulnerabilities and their marital correlates. Identifying the conditions under which new parents of Mexican origin are likely to experience marital difficulties as well as the relational resources that strengthen or buffer their marriages will inform prevention and intervention efforts. Detailed data such as those collected in the proposed project are necessary to promote the development of culturally appropriate intervention strategies that are tailored to the individual needs and strengths of immigrant families from Mexico.

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