Doctoroff_Greta_300Dr. Greta Doctoroff, associate professor of psychology at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, recently published two articles.

She co-authored an article in the 2017 Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology titled “Engaging fathers in effective parenting for preschool children using shared book-reading: A randomized controlled trial.”

The study, based on work done by a research team led by Dr. Anil Chacko from New York University, included 126 Head Start families with Spanish-speaking fathers. The fathers were randomly assigned to either be in a school-based parent education program developed for the project called Fathers Supporting Success in Preschoolers (FSSP) or in a control group.

FSSP integrates evidence-based reading and parenting techniques with fathers in mind (e.g., video vignette-based discussions of following the child’s lead during father-child reading interactions), and staff at the child care center were trained as group leaders, allowing for a sustainable intervention.

They found that fathers who participated in FSSP showed higher quality parenting behavior (by observation and their own report) and their children showed improved behavior and language development in comparison to families who received typical Head Start services.

Doctoroff also recently published a study in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology that examined how mother-child interactions during a homework-like task related to elementary school children’s reading achievement.

Titled “Doing homework together: The relation between parenting strategies, child engagement, and achievement,” the study found that mothers who supported their children’s need for autonomy showed higher task engagement and had higher reading achievement scores. In addition, maternal emotional support and high quality teaching during the observation were connected to children’s reading achievement.

In other research, Doctoroff and her graduate students are focused on improving parenting experiences in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and supporting staff in their utilization of family-centered, neurodevelopmental care to improve infant development. Doctoroff presented preliminary findings on the experience of mothers in the NICU at the Society for Research in Child Development conference this past April in Austin, Texas. She is currently working with her team to analyze interviews with fathers about their experiences parenting in the NICU.

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