The Child and Family Study Group (CFSG)
Director: Douglas Barnett, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, Wayne State University

Our Purpose
The purpose of the CFSG is...

  • To examine factors that influence parent and child psychological adjustment and functioning
  • To understand the influence of processes (e.g., warm/nurturing parenting, motivation) that are associated with positive outcomes and those that are associated with negative outcomes (e.g., poverty, abuse, congenital disorders)
  • To identify and understand the processes that contribute to positive outcomes for high-risk individuals in particular
  • To develop and evaluate empirically based interventions to improve parent and child mental health and adjustment

Our Approach
Our approach is a holistic and naturalistic look at human development.

Holistic Approach
We gather and examine six types of data.

  1. Physiological
  2. Observational
  3. Self-report
  4. Test data
  5. Apperceptions
  6. Life data (POSTAL data).

In addition, we study...

  • Multiple domains of individuals' functioning, including their biological, emotional, cognitive, and social psychology
  • The interplay of nature (biology) and nurture (environment)
  • Both normal and pathological conditions

Naturalistic Approach

We focus on the social and emotional outcomes for parents and their children, such as quality of relationships and mood. In addition, we are interested in...

  • Observing parents and children in action (e.g., playing together, teaching, reading)
  • How parents and children function in their natural environments, such as home and school
  • The everyday functioning of parents and children


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