Family Interaction Study

Principal Investigators: Lee Gettler, Ph.D., Julie Braungart-Rieker, Ph.D., and Mark Cummings, Ph.D.

In the Family Interaction Study, we are exploring parent-child and mother-father interactions to better understand the social bonds between parents and children and how parents’ biology changes when family members engage with each other. We know that mothers are critical to children’s development in many ways. Compared to our understanding of mothers’ roles, we know less about the importance of fathers, especially during early life, or whether mother-father interactions can help shape how both parents impact their children. Our prior studies have also hinted that there may be some effects of parent-child and mother-father interactions on how our bodies’ biology functions and that some individuals may differ in how their bodies respond. Therefore, one of the primary goals of the current study is to learn more about parent-child relationships and how mothers and fathers interact with their infants and with each other. The second goal is to better understand connections between parents’ biology and families engaging with one another. The Family Interaction Study will launch in October 2013 and is funded by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame.

The Family Interaction Study is currently recruiting participants for the upcoming launch of our project. Eligible participants are cohabitating mothers and fathers with an infant between the ages of 5 to 7 months.

For additional information, please contact Patty Kuo, Ph.D., Family Interaction Study Coordinator ( or call 574-631-0887 or 574-631-7631.