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What are we looking at?

We are interested in examining many different changes that people may experience across the transition to parenthood. For example, do people with a particular personality type or personal background have a harder or easier time adjusting to being a parent? Do specific situations (stress, being far away from family, working or not working) make it harder for people to adjust to being a parent? Does having a specific communication style make it easier or harder for people to solve problems and/or support each other?

One large part of the study is examining how people's hormones and thoughts are affected by the transition to parenthood, and how they affect each other. For example, do people who experience specific hormone changes report more stress as new parents? Or, conversely, do people who report feeling more stressed in their new role as parents show different hormone patterns that those who report feeling less stressed?

The Study Processes tab above will give more details about each "time point" in the study, but this page will provide a general overview.

What do study participants have to do?

The majority of what you will have to do is complete surveys. These are often online links we send to you via email, but we could mail you a packet if you'd prefer to fill it out on paper. Some times it's a very short survey that you can just complete on your phone.

We will ask you and your partner to have short (8-min) problem solving conversations. You will be in a room together by yourselves (without one of our staff members) but these conversations will be recorded. The reason we record these conversations is to be able to assess people's communication styles. As we describe on the Study FAQ page, these videos are password protected and stored in a locked room that is only accessed by our staff. The videos are never shared publicly and are not linked with your names. Look below for examples of scientific publications based on this type of data.

We will ask you to provide saliva samples (so that we can assess hormone levels such as testosterone and cortisol) and urine samples (so that we can assess a marker called "oxidative stress" which is an immune system measure related to health). We will also ask you to provide a separate saliva sample for a DNA analysis to examine if particular genes are associated with a harder or easier time adjusting to parenthood. None of these samples are ever labeled with your names, just an ID number assigned to you as part of the study. Look below for examples of scientific publications based on this type of data.

If you have any questions about what we might ask you to do or what we do with your answers, please ask! And remember that your participation in the study is voluntary so if a question makes you uncomfortable you can always skip it.

Examples of Scientific Publications from Our Lab

This is an example of a publication that combines the use of data from problem-solving conversations and assessments of hormone levels. We found that some men and women experienced increases in testosterone during these discussions. For men, these increases tended to be associated with feeling like their partner was blaming them.

This is an example of a publication that looks at how a particular gene can make adjustment during the newlywed period easier. We looked at one spot on the CD38 gene (it's called rs3796863) and showed that people who have two copies of the C nucleotide in that specific spot (compared to people who had one or two copies of the A nucleotide in the same spot) reported being more satisfied in their relationship, being more forgiving of their partner, showing more gratitiude, and feeling more trust.

We're happy to give you more examples if you are interested!

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