CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY KENYON
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 15, 2001
UI psychology professor wins $2.6 million grant to study parent-child
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- John Knutson, a psychology professor in the University
of Iowa College of Liberal Arts, has won a $2.64 million grant from the National
Institute of Mental Health for a five-year study of parent-child interactions
and children's social development.
With the cooperation and assistance of local social service agencies, Knutson
and his collaborators will recruit 540 families with children between ages
4 and 8 to participate in the study. Participants will be drawn from three
study sites -- Omaha, Neb., Oneida County in Northern Wisconsin, and Linn
and Johnson Counties in Iowa -- in order to develop a diverse study group.
The project involves interviewing parents, observing children and their
social behavior with peers, and observing parents' interactions with their
children. "I'm interested in studying the full range of children's experiences
with different parenting styles," Knutson said.
By studying children's relationships with parents and peers, Knutson hopes
to demonstrate connections between family interactions and the development
of peer relationships. Information on the formation of peer relationships
is crucial to determining the origin of children's anti-social behavior, Knutson
"Because discipline is closely related to other aspects of parent-child
relations, we'll also be using this project to try to understand the importance
of disciplinary tactics in the development of children's social behavior with
their peers," he said.
At the Omaha study site, Knutson will work with Patricia Sullivan of the
Boys Town National Research Hospital, continuing a decade of collaborative
research. For the Oneida County study, Knutson has established a new UI laboratory
in Rhinelander, Wis., where he has a long-standing collaborative relationship
with the Oneida county Department of Social Services. Gina Koeppl, a psychologist
with post-doctoral experience at the UI, will be a collaborator at that site.