Me and My Family

The Me and My Family Project is a longitudinal, dual-site study with data collection taking place both under Dr. E. Mark Cummings at the University of Notre Dame and Dr. Patrick Davies at the University of Rochester. The primary goal of this project was to explicitly test a comprehensive model of the role of the children's emotional security in the family to understand the relationship between marital conflict and child adjustment.  While the quality of marital relations has long been known to affect family functioning and child development, there is little understanding of the specific processes by which marital relations impact families and children. The project also seeks to understand these processes in the context of broader family functioning including many aspects of the marital and parent-child relationship and parent psychopathology as they contribute to children's development.  

Research Overview

The first phase of data collection for the Me and My Family Project began in 1999 and involved 235 families with a child in kindergarten at the start of the study. Families were recruited from community samples and enrollment criteria necessitated that mothers, fathers, and children had been living together for 3 years prior to the start of the project.  During the second phase of data collection, a majority of these families and an additional 90 families were recruited to participate as children progressed through early adolescence. Collection for the second phase of data began in 2006. These families now have children finishing middle school or starting high school.

Funded By

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Age Group

  • Adults
  • Preschooler
  • Young Adults


  • E. Mark Cummings, Ph.D. 
  • Patrick Davies, Ph.D., University of Rochester


Research Impact

The study is designed to examine a variety of child outcomes including the development of psychopathology (e.g. anxiety, depression, ADA, eating disorders, etc) physiological functioning, school adjustment, and peer & dating relationships.  Although many of the same goals apply in phase one and phase two, phase two uniquely assesses children's emotional security and its effects on adjustment in adolescence.  A variety of innovative observational, interview, analog and questionnaire procedures are employed to assess children's emotional security and reactions to interparental conflict, as well as broader family functioning.