Scholarly Works, Human Development and Family Science

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  • A collection of 157 individual neuromelanin-sensitive images accompanied by non-linear neuromelanin-sensitive atlas and a probabilistic locus coeruleus atlas
    Lee, Tae-Ho; Kim, Sun Hyung; Neal, Joshua; Katz, Benjamin; Kim, Il Hwan (2024-02)
    The current dataset aims to support and enhance the research reliability of neuromelanin regions in the brain- stem, such as locus coeruleus (LC), by offering raw neuromelanin-sensitive images. The dataset includes raw neuromelanin-sensitive images from 157 healthy individuals (8–64 years old). In addition, leveraging individual neuromelanin-sensitive images, a non-linear neuromelanin- sensitive atlas, generated through an iterative warping pro- cess, is included to tackle the common challenge of a limited field of view in neuromelanin-sensitive images. Finally, the dataset encompasses a probabilistic LC atlas generated through a majority voting approach with pre-existing multiple atlas-based segmentations. This process entails warping pre-existing atlases onto individual spaces and identifying voxels with a majority consensus of over 50 % across the atlases. This LC probabilistic atlas can minimize uncertainty variance associated with choosing a specific single atlas.
  • Interactive stories through robot musical theater for preschoolers’ STEAM education
    Choi, Koeun; Yu, Shuqi; Kim, Jisun; Dong, Jia; Lee, Yeaji; Haines, Chelsea; Newbill, Phyllis; Upthegrove, Tanner; Wyatt, Ariana; Jeon, Myonghoon (2022)
  • TaleMate: Collaborating with Voice Agents for Parent-Child Joint Reading Experiences
    Vargas-Diaz, Daniel; Karunaratna, Sulakna; Kim, Jisun; Lee, Sang Won; Choi, Koeun (ACM, 2023-10-29)
    Joint reading is a key activity for early learners, with caregiver-child interactions such as questioning and feedback playing an essential role in children’s cognitive and linguistic development. However, for some parents, actively engaging children in storytelling can be challenging. To address this, we introduce TaleMate—a platform designed to enhance shared reading by leveraging conversational agents that have been shown to support children’s engagement and learning. TaleMate enables a dynamic, participatory reading experience where parents and children can choose which characters they wish to embody. Moreover, the system navigates the challenges posed by digital reading tools, such as decreased parent-child interaction, and builds upon the benefits of traditional and digital reading techniques. TaleMate offers an innovative approach to fostering early reading habits, bridging the gap between traditional joint reading practices and the digital reading landscape.
  • Women at the margins: Experiences with spousal incarceration in India
    Gupta, Shivangi; Arditti, Joyce A. (Wiley, 2023-03)
    Justice-involved families in India are underserved despite concurrent challenges including inadequate penal systems and widespread poverty. Families provide emotional and financial support to incarcerated individuals-burdens that fall upon female kin who are underresourced. Women experiencing spousal incarceration in India are likely to be from marginalized sections of society, vulnerable to co-occurring forms of oppression, making intersectional feminism a suitable theoretical framework to contextualize their lives. Through consistent interactions with the carceral institution, these women become integrated in the prison culture, experiencing secondary prisonization. Intersectional feminism helps understand variations in secondary prisonization for women inhabiting different social locations. However, this population remains understudied. We bridge the gap by building a contextualized understanding of this population using intersectional feminism, by attending to scholarship that illustrates sources of marginalization including exploitive informal work, a minoritized caste identity, and a minoritized religious identity. We offer recommendations for theory and research.
  • A review of the literature: How does prenatal opioid exposure impact placental health and fetal brain development?
    Humphries, Audrey; Simcox, Kim; Howell, Brittany (Wiley, 2023-04)
    In recent years, there has been a sixfold increase in the number of pregnant people with opioid use disorder (OUD). Rates of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS), previously known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), have significantly increased in virtually every state and demographic group (Healthcare Cost Utilization Project, HCUP, 2010). NOWS is a condition resulting from chronic exposure to either therapeutic opioid use (e.g., medication for OUD, chronic pain conditions) or nonprescribed opioid use. To date, there is no known prenatal treatment to help decrease the risk of infants developing NOWS and subsequent neurodevelopmental outcomes. Given the increasing support for how placental signaling, or placental programming, may play a role in downstream pathology, prospective research investigating how the placenta is affected by chronic opioid exposure morphologically, histologically, and at the cellular level may open up potential treatment opportunities in this field. In this review, we discuss literature exploring the physiological roles of nitric oxide and dopamine not only in the vascular development of the placenta, but also in fetal cerebral blood flow, neurogenesis, neuronal differentiation, and neuronal activity. We also discuss histological preclinical studies that suggest chronic opioid exposure to induce some combination of placental dysfunction and hypoxia in a manner similar to other well-known placental pathologies, as denoted by the compensatory neovascularization and increased utilization of the placenta's supply of trophoblast cells, which play an essential role in placental angiogenesis. Overall, we found that the current literature, while limited, suggests chronic opioid exposure negatively impacts placental function and fetal brain development on a cellular and histopathological level. We conclude that it is worthwhile to consider the placenta as a therapeutic target with the ultimate goal of decreasing the incidence of NOWS and the long-term impacts of prenatal opioid exposure.
  • From terrible twos to sassy sixes: The development of vocabulary and executive functioning across early childhood
    Bruce, Madeleine; Savla, Jyoti; Bell, Martha Ann (Wiley, 2023-04)
    Across the early childhood period of development, young children exhibit considerable growth in their executive functioning (EF) and vocabulary abilities. Understanding the developmental trajectory of these seemingly interrelated processes is important as both early vocabulary and EF have been shown to predict critical academic and socio-emotional outcomes later in childhood. Although previous research suggests that EF and vocabulary are correlated in early childhood, much of the existing longitudinal research has focused on unidirectional relations among preschool child samples. The current large-scale study, therefore, sought to examine whether children's vocabulary and EF abilities are bidirectionally related over time across four measurement waves in early childhood (i.e., at ages 2, 3, 4, and 6). At each timepoint, children's vocabulary skills were positively correlated with their concurrent EF abilities. After controlling for child sex and maternal education status, the best-fitting, cross-lagged panel model was a unidirectional model whereby children's early vocabulary scores predicted their later EF performance at each timepoint. Although age 2 EF significantly predicted age 3 vocabulary size, this association was no longer significant after accounting for maternal education status. Our results illustrate that vocabulary size plays an important role in predicting children's later EF performance across various timepoints in early childhood, even after controlling for children's initial EF scores. These findings have important implications for intervention research as fostering early vocabulary acquisition may serve as a possible avenue for improving EF outcomes in young children.
  • The theory of integrated empowerment in the transition to adulthood: concepts and measures
    Mouchrek, Najla; Benson, Mark J. (Frontiers, 2023-04)
    IntroductionDevelopmental challenges in the transition to adulthood require a process of empowerment that enables young people to guide themselves and build capacities for adult commitments and roles. To examine this systemic process, we conducted an interdisciplinary investigation of constructs from prior literatures that relate to empowerment. Two foundational dimensions of empowerment emerged in relation to individual functioning and relational environments. Theoretical modelThe two dimensions are self-direction and meaningful roles in society. A creative process of theory construction informed by related literatures identified four component catalysts that drive these dimensions of empowerment among early adults: personal agency, sense of purpose, mentoring experience, and engagement in community. As developed in this article, the Integrated Empowerment Theory explains the relationships among these catalysts within the ongoing, multilayered process of empowerment in the transition to adulthood. A graphic representation in the article specifies the relationships among these theoretical concepts. Method and resultsTo advance future research based on these theoretical concepts, we constructed multi-item measures of the four catalysts drawn from indicators in the empirical literature. The resulting scales were presented to participants in an empirical test of their technical adequacies. Participants were 255 early adult college students from eight colleges at a public land-grant research university in the United States. The 18-item scale includes four subscales: agency, purpose, mentoring, and community. The study findings evidenced robust internal consistency estimates across the scales (0.79-0.96). DiscussionThe Integrated Empowerment Theory and the corresponding scales provide tools for research to understand and promote positive developmental outcomes for youth as they navigate experimentation, life choices, and identity construction. The scales also imply a logical sequence for application and intervention. The sequence corresponds to four key catalysts: Community, Agency, Mentors, and Purpose, or CAMP. Although the conceptualization and the scales draw from a college population, the constructs have potential applicability, and await future research with additional age groups. For early adults, empowerment has particularly important implications for societal contributions. Creating contexts where youth can play meaningful roles in their emerging social world holds positive potential for society.
  • Studying stepfamilies, surfacing secrets: A reflection on the private motivations behind efforts to humanize family complexity
    Sanner, Caroline (Wiley, 2023-05)
    Feminist family scholars have long called for greater transparency of the partial perspectives embedded within family science. In this paper, I employ feminist reflexive autoethnography to unpack the private motivations that guide my research on family complexity. Using critical storytelling, I trace the personal developments that led to a research program on structurally complex families-families shaped and reshaped by divorce, separations, repartnerships, and remarriages. I explore my commitments to naming the invisible, embracing the messy, and ultimately, humanizing the complicated and meaningful emotions and relationships in families navigating structural changes. I draw upon personal, embodied experiences to theorize about issues and phenomena that have yet to be named in the (step)family scholarship. Finally, I invite others to heed the calls of feminist scholars whose work invites us to consider how private experiences can be leveraged to generate new insights into the complexities of family and social life.
  • Dating and friendships in adolescence: Variation across same-sex and other-sex romantic partners
    Wesche, Rose; Kreager, Derek A.; Ramirez, Nayan G.; Gupta, Shivangi (Wiley, 2023-05)
    This research examined associations between dating and number of friends for rural adolescents with same-sex and other-sex dating partners using longitudinal sociometric data (N = 2826; 55% female, 87% White, mean age = 14 at baseline). In multilevel models assessing within-person change, boys gained female friends when they were in same-sex romantic relationships, compared to when they were single. In contrast, girls in same-sex relationships lost female friends and gained male friends. Adolescents in other-sex romantic relationships gained same-sex friends compared to when they were single. Results advance understanding of adolescent social and sexual development, suggesting that sexual minority adolescents find allies when dating but may struggle to maintain same-sex friendships.
  • I can still hear my baby crying: The ambiguous loss of American Indian/Alaska Native birthmothers
    Landers, Ashley L.; Danes, Sharon M.; Carrese, Domenica H.; Mpras, Evdoxia; Campbell, Avery R.; Hawk, Sandy White (Wiley, 2022-09)
    This study captures the experiences of American Indian/Alaska Native birthmothers who lost a child to adoption and the impact of said loss on their health and wellbeing. Few studies examine the loss experiences of American Indian/Alaska Native birthmothers despite their increased probability to lose a child to foster care and adoption. American Indian/Alaska Native birthmothers are distinct from birthmothers of other races in their experiences of intergenerational and historical child loss, having disproportionately lost their children to systematic practices of child removal via boarding schools, the adoption era, and child welfare. Interview data from 8 American Indian/Alaska Native birthmothers were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Five themes emerged including: (1) the social context of losing a child to adoption for American Indian/Alaska Native birthmothers, (2) the ambiguous loss of a child to adoption, (3) grief reactions to the loss, (4) the impact of the loss on birthmother health and wellbeing, and (5) creating resiliency. Findings suggest that American Indian/Alaska Native birthmothers experience ambiguous loss, as well as elevated mental health problems and substance abuse following the loss of a child to adoption.
  • The paradox of family support for young mothers: An interpretive phenomenology analysis
    McGregor, Casey M.; Arditti, Joyce A. (Wiley, 2022-11)
    Objective: We sought to illuminant the lived experiences of becoming a mother during adolescence within the context of multigenerational family caregiving. Background: Adolescence is a developmental time frame during which identity formation is most salient and characterized by separation from parents (Erikson, 1968). Teenage childbearing, then, presents a unique scenario during which adolescent mothers and their families may need to renegotiate autonomy and caregiving roles. Method: Qualitative methods, and interpretive phenomenological analysis, were utilized to explore the lived experiences of nine women who became mothers before the age of 19 years. Mothers were recruited from rural, Central Appalachian regions in the United States. Results: We identified the essence of young mothers' lived experiences regarding their receipt of caregiving during the transition to parenthood as an adolescent. Mothers equated instrumental and emotional support from family with their own "lovability" and interpreted support as indicative of their evolving competence as mothers. Conclusions: Young motherhood appeared to be a developmental paradox in that their adolescent identity conflicted with their maternal identity. Implications: Young mothers would benefit from multilevel interventions. Instead, practitioners might consider supporting whole families of young mothers by providing the means to create a healthy, supportive environment for the mother and her offspring.
  • Longitudinal bidirectional relations between children’s negative affectivity and maternal emotion expressivity
    Tan, Lin; Smith, Cynthia L. (Frontiers, 2022-10-20)
    Although children’s negative affectivity is a temperamental characteristic that is biologically based, it is framed within and shaped by their emotional environments which are partly created by maternal emotion expressivity in the family. Children, in turn, play a role in shaping their family emotional context, which could lead to changes in mothers’ emotion expressivity in the family. However, these theorized longitudinal bidirectional relations between child negative affectivity and maternal positive and negative expressivity have not been studied from toddlerhood to early school-age. The current study utilized a cross-lagged panel model to examine the reciprocal relations between children’s negative affectivity and maternal expressivity within the family over the course of early childhood. Participants were 140 mother–child dyads (72 boys, mean age = 2.67 years, primarily White). Mothers reported the positive and negative expressivity in the family and children’s negative affectivity in toddlerhood (T1), preschool (T2), and school-age (T3). Maternal negative expressivity and child negative affectivity at T1 were significantly correlated. Maternal negative expressivity at T1 significantly predicted child negative affectivity at T3. Children’s negative affectivity at T2 significantly predicted mothers’ negative expressivity at T3. Mothers’ positive expressivity was not related to children’s negative affectivity at any of the three time points. The findings demonstrate the reciprocal relations between children’s negative affectivity and maternal negative expressivity in the family, suggesting the importance of the interplay between child temperament and maternal expressivity within the family emotional context.
  • Preschoolers’ attention to and learning from on-screen characters that vary by effort and efficiency: An eye-tracking study
    Choi, Koeun; Schlesinger, Molly A.; Franchak, John M.; Richert, Rebekah A. (Frontiers, 2022-12-15)
    Prior findings are mixed regarding the extent to which children understand others’ effort in early childhood. Especially, little is known about how character effort impacts children’s selective attention and learning. This study examined preschoolers’ visual attention to and learning from two on-screen characters: One character exerting high effort with low efficiency and another character exerting low effort with high efficiency in solving problems successfully. Children between 3.5 and 6.5 years of age (N = 70) watched a video of the two on-screen characters successfully solving problems. Children’s eye movements were recorded during viewing. Each of the two on-screen characters consistently displayed either high effort/low efficiency or low effort/high efficiency to solve four problems (familiarization). For the final problem (testing), the two characters exerted the same level of effort as each other and used unique solutions to solve the problem. Children then solved the final problem themselves using real objects. Children could selectively use either character’s solution demonstrated in the video. Lastly, children explicitly judged how good the characters were at solving problems. Younger children were more likely to use the solution demonstrated by the character with high effort/low efficiency, whereas older children were more likely to use the solution provided by another character with low effort/high efficiency. Younger children allocated more attention to the high effort/low efficiency character than the low effort/high efficiency character, but this pattern was modified by age such that children’s gaze to the low effort/high efficiency character increased with age. Children’s explicit credibility judgments did not differ by character or child age. The findings are discussed with respect to preschoolers’ understanding of effort and implications for children’s learning from screen media.
  • SAT patterns and engineering and computer science college majors: an intersectional, state-level study
    Tan, Lin; Bradburn, Isabel S.; Knight, David B.; Kinoshita, Timothy; Grohs, Jacob R. (2022-11-05)
    Background Numerous efforts worldwide have been made to increase diversity in engineering and computer science (ECS), fields that pay well and promote upward mobility. However, in the United States (U.S.), females and students from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups (URM) still pursue ECS training far less than do their peers. The current study explored sex and racial/ethnic differences in ECS college enrollment as a function of math and verbal SAT score patterns (balanced or imbalanced) using an intersectional approach within a U.S. context. Data represented a census of students who took the SAT, graduated from all Virginia public high schools between 2006 and 2015, and enrolled in a 4-year college (N = 344,803). Results Our findings show, within each sex, URM students were at least as likely as their non-URM peers to enroll in ECS programs when they scored within similar SAT score ranges. Students were more likely to enroll in ECS programs if their SAT profile favored math, compared to students with similar math and verbal SAT scores (balanced profile). This overall pattern is notably less pronounced for URM female students; their propensity to major in ECS appeared to be largely independent of verbal scores. Conclusions Our findings inform strategies to diversify ECS enrollment. If programs continue to emphasize SAT scores during admission decisions or if more systemic issues of resource allocation in secondary schools are not addressed, other efforts to broaden participation in ECS programs may fall short of goals. Our findings also highlight the importance of considering the intersection of sex and race/ethnicity for recruitment or other educational promotions.
  • Extended Family Caregivers for Persons Living With Dementia
    Roberto, Karen A.; Savla, Jyoti S. (SAGE, 2022-11-01)
    Despite changes in the structure of contemporary families, little is known about extended family members—siblings, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, stepkin—who are primary caregivers for a relative living with dementia. Information about these caregivers is needed to help ensure their needs are understood by providers in health care and social service settings. The focus of this research was on the care situations of extended family caregivers and the impact of caregiving on their health and well-being. In Study 1, data from the National Study of Caregiving were used to describe the experiences of 107 extended family caregivers. In Study 2, case study techniques elicited additional information about the experiences of 10 extended family caregivers. Collectively, these caregivers provide care with little or no formal support and occasional help from a small informal network. Caregiving affected their physical and emotional health, depending on the strength of the relationship between the caregiver and the person living with dementia and the type of care provided. Findings contribute new knowledge about extended family caregivers and highlight the important role extended family dementia caregivers play and the challenges they face.
  • Joint analyses of human milk fatty acids, phospholipids, and choline in association with cognition and temperament traits during the first 6 months of life
    Li, Tengfei; Samuel, Tinu M. M.; Zhu, Ziliang; Howell, Brittany; Cho, Seoyoon; Baluyot, Kristine; Hazlett, Heather; Elison, Jed T. T.; Wu, Di; Hauser, Jonas; Sprenger, Norbert; Zhu, Hongtu; Lin, Weili (Frontiers, 2022-08-24)
    Early dietary exposure via human milk nutrients offers a window of opportunity to support cognitive and temperament development. While several studies have focused on associations of few pre-selected human milk nutrients with cognition and temperament, it is highly plausible that human milk nutrients synergistically and jointly support cognitive and behavioral development in early life. We aimed to discern the combined associations of three major classes of human milk nutrients with cognition and temperament during the first 6 months of life when human milk is the primary source of an infant's nutrition and explore whether there were persistent effects up to 18 months old. The Mullen Scales of Early Learning and Infant Behavior Questionnaires-Revised were used to assess cognition and temperament, respectively, of 54 exclusively/predominantly breastfed infants in the first 6 months of life, whose follow-ups were conducted at 6-9, 9-12, and 12-18 months old. Human milk samples were obtained from the mothers of the participants at less than 6 months of age and analyzed for fatty acids [total monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acid, total saturated fatty acid (TSFA), arachidonic acid (ARA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), ARA/DHA, omega-6/omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids ratio (n-6/n-3)], phospholipids [phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylinositol (PI), sphingomyelin], and choline [free choline, phosphocholine (PCho), glycerophosphocholine]. Feature selection was performed to select nutrients associated with cognition and temperament. The combined effects of selected nutrients were analyzed using multiple regression. A positive association between the arachidonic acid (ARA) and surgency was observed (p = 0.024). A significant effect of DHA, n-6/n-3, PE, and TSFA concentrations on receptive language (R-2 = 0.39, p = 0.025) and the elevated ARA, PCho, and PI with increased surgency (R-2 = 0.43, p = 0.003) was identified, suggesting that DHA and ARA may have distinct roles for temperament and language functions. Furthermore, the exploratory association analyses suggest that the effects of human milk nutrients on R.L. and surgency may persist beyond the first 6 months of life, particularly surgency at 12-18 months (p = 0.002). Our study highlighted that various human milk nutrients work together to support the development of cognition and temperament traits during early infancy.
  • Dual Caregivers of Persons Living with Dementia: The Added Stress of COVID-19 Pandemic
    Atkinson, Emily; Savla, Jyoti S.; Roberto, Karen A.; Blieszner, Rosemary; McCann, Brandy R.; Knight, Aubrey L. (SAGE, 2022-02-17)
    Serving in dual caregiving roles presents challenges and has consequences for caregivers’ physical and mental health. Forty-six dual caregivers in rural southwest Virginia participated in one semi-structured telephone interview pre-pandemic. Of these caregivers, nine dual caregivers of multiple older adults (MOA) and six caregivers of multiple generations (MG) participated in two telephone interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic health, stress, and support data were used to compare dual caregivers of MOA and MG; differences were minimal. Responses to interviews conducted during the pandemic highlighted the effects of social restrictions on MOA and MG caregivers, revealing five themes (1) Increased isolation, (2) Increased need for vigilance, (3) Negative impact on mental health, (4) Tendency to “do it all,” and (5) Increased informal help. MOA and MG caregivers differed on managing care responsibilities and ensuring the health of care recipients. In general, dual caregivers experienced decreased mental health, increased social isolation, and increased caregiving responsibilities. Antecedents of the pandemic experiences differentiated MOA and MG caregiver. Findings suggest that programs and services should target dual caregivers’ unique needs.
  • Contraceptive Needs Among Women Recently Incarcerated at a Rural Appalachian Jail
    Wenzel, Sophie G.; Zabielski, Barbie; Borowski, Shelby (Mary Ann Liebert, 2021)
    Background: Incarceration is associated with negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes. We examined contraceptive needs among women incarcerated at a rural Appalachian jail with emphasis on pregnancy history, recent contraceptive use, and current and near-future contraceptive needs. Materials and Methods: A survey was administered to newly incarcerated women at a jail in Southwest Virginia. It included questions about (1) prior pregnancies; (2) pregnancy intentions, contraceptive use, and sexual activity in the 3 months before jail; (3) unprotected sex in the 5 days before jail; (4) interest in contraceptive education and access during incarceration; and (5) post-release sexual activity, pregnancy, and contraceptive plans. Results: One hundred ninety-three women completed surveys. Analyses focused on the 95 at risk for pregnancy. Fifty-eight percent of prior pregnancies on which women provided intention information were unintended, with 74% of respondents reporting at least 1 such pregnancy. Ninety-four percent of women reported vaginal intercourse during the 3 months before jail. Only 46% of those who did not want to get pregnant reported consistent contraceptive use. Condoms and withdrawal were the most common methods used. Forty percent of women were eligible for emergency contraception (EC). Most (78%) participants anticipated sex with a man within 6 months of release, and most (63%) did not want to become pregnant within a year of release. Almost half (47%) expressed interest in receiving birth control while in jail. Conclusions: Results support the need to offer women EC on incarceration, family planning education during confinement, and effective birth control before release.
  • Parental Influences on Children’s Ethnic Identity Development
    Kim, Kee Jeong (Institute for Promoting Research & Policy Development, 2021-10)
    Parental influences on children’s ethnic identity among middle-income Korean-American families (N = 52), including fathers, mothers, and their children were examined. The sample was comprised of 23 boys and 29 girls (M = 7 years and 3 months) and their parents. Mothers and fathers were asked to respond independently to a parent's ethnic identity questionnaire; children were interviewed using a children’s ethnic identity questionnaire. Results revealed the most important predictors of children’s ethnic identity were parental teaching behaviors regarding Korean culture and history. Among the three domains in children’s ethnic identity, Korean language fluency was most affected by parental ethnic identity variables. Results indicated that mothers and fathers generally share the same attitudes toward ethnic matters; thus, it was concluded that children receive a congruent ethnic message from their parents.
  • Effective parenting in stepfamilies: Empirical evidence of what works
    Sanner, Caroline; Ganong, Lawrence; Coleman, Marilyn; Berkley, Steven (Wiley, 2022-05-16)
    Objective The purpose of this study was to examine research evidence about effective childrearing in stepfamilies (i.e., parenting practices that contribute to children's physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being). Background Stepfamilies are increasingly common. Studies show that children in stepfamilies tend to be at higher risk for negative outcomes than children in first-married biological-parent families. As research on stepfamilies has expanded, researchers have made strides in identifying parenting practices that promote positive outcomes for children in stepfamilies. Method We reviewed 37 studies that contained empirical evidence of effective parenting by biological or adoptive parents of children in stepfamilies. Results Researchers have identified numerous actions employed by parents that are linked to children's positive outcomes. Effective parenting practices fall broadly into five domains: (a) maintaining close parent-child bonds, (b) establishing appropriate parent-child communication boundaries, (c) exercising parental control, (d) supporting stepparent-stepchild relationship development, and (e) facilitating stepfamily cohesion. Conclusions Effective childrearing in stepfamilies involves carefully managing competing family needs, such as the need to balance shared family time with one-on-one parent-child time or the need to establish open parent-child communication boundaries in some areas but closed boundaries in others. Implications Parents have available to them a number of empirically supported action items linked to child well-being in stepfamilies.