Family Science Theses and Dissertations

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 196
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    Influence of Latinx Fathers' Behaviors, Cognitions, Affect, and Family Congruence on Youth Energy Balance-Related Health Outcomes
    (2022) Rodriguez, Matthew Rene; Roy, Kevin; Hurtado Choque, Ghaffar Ali; Family Studies; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    For decades, researchers have studied and theorized about the ways fathers interact with children and other members of the family. While this research provides important evidence, few father involvement studies have included Latinx fathers. Numerous father involvement conceptual frameworks have helped us understand the ways fathers interact with their families. Much of this research has focused on fathers' behaviors, but research suggests other domains need more investigation, such as fathers' cognitions and affect. Understanding these additional domains of father involvement can provide important evidence for understanding the ways fathers influence the health of children. Fathers influence the health of their children within different cultural and socio-political contexts. When considering Latinx father involvement within a social determinants of health approach, research has encouraged focusing on upstream factors that can contribute to the health of Latinx families. Addressing these upstream factors can shape the health and wellbeing of children. Currently, Latinx youth suffer disproportionately from obesity compared to all other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. Through investigating Latinx father involvement, I fill an important gap by researching the extent to which Latinx fathers' affect, behaviors, and cognitions shape youth health outcomes. I also investigate theorized moderators that may influence the relationship between fathers' involvement and youth health outcomes. Using a cross sectional study design with a community-based sample of Latinx fathers and youth (ages 10-14) (n=193), I use latent moderation structural analyses to test the theorized causal mechanisms.
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    (2022) Kartashev, Maria; Falconier, Mariana K; Family Studies; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This qualitative study investigated how African American heterosexual couples’ relationship are affected by racial discrimination and how they cope with stress from racial discrimination (including communicating their own and responding to each other’s stress). The data were analyzed using thematic analysis, and themes were organized based on the areas of inquiry. Themes related to the impact of racial discrimination on the couple relationship included “my partner’s experiences of racial discrimination also affect me,” and “couples feel connected through the similarities in the experience of discrimination.” Themes regarding coping as a couple included “talking about racial discrimination with your partner helps,” “agree to disagree,” “joking together to show solidarity,” and “complementary gender responses to racial discrimination.” Themes were discussed using the systemic-transactional model of dyadic coping (Bodenmann, 1995, 2005). Though further research is needed to understand the impact of racial discrimination on African American couples and their coping, the current study suggests that couples cope with racial discrimination dyadically. This coping is diverse and sometimes gendered. Additionally, creating a safe space of compassion, despite differences in perceptions of racial discrimination, helps couples feel bonded by mutual trust, intimacy, and connectedness. Finally, limitations, clinical and research implications, and issues of reflexivity were discussed.
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    A Qualitative Examination of the Barriers and Facilitators of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Uptake Among Heterosexual HIV Serodiscordant Couples
    (2022) Mathews, Ronneal; Mittal, Mona; Family Studies; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    It is estimated that there are 140,000 heterosexual serodiscordant couples in the United States. Given the considerable number of these couples and the high risk of HIV acquisition among non-infected partners, it is important to focus prevention methods on programs and interventions that target transmission of HIV infection among serodiscordant heterosexual couples. Currently, we understand little about factors that influence these couples to use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). According to the CDC, this population is one of the highest risk groups, therefore, understanding the factors that influence them to use PrEP as a strategy in their HIV prevention regimen is an important step in preventing new HIV cases among this population. This study was a qualitative analysis that explored potential motivators and inhibitors for PrEP among heterosexual HIV serodiscordant couples. Secondary data from 26 qualitative interviews of HIV serodiscordant couples (N = 52 individuals) was examined to determine the factors that influenced the decision to use PrEP. Overall, there were five overarching themes from the Health Belief Model that manifested in all participant interviews. Perceived threat, perceived barriers (concerns about side effects, fear/anxiety about taking medication, indifference about HIV transmission), perceived benefits, cues to action (partner protection, PrEP use as condom replacement, PrEP use due to concerns about condom efficacy), and relational efficacy emerged as the most salient themes that determined whether couples chose to use PrEP as an HIV prevention method. Two constructs from the Theory of Gender and Power, sexual division of power and cathexis also emerged as relevant factors that influenced the decision to use PrEP in these couples. Findings from this study indicate that practitioners need to consider the motivators and barriers to PrEP uptake, and critically examine how power dynamics impact the decision to use PrEP. There is a need for the development of couples-based interventions to encourage PrEP uptake and adherence in mixed status couples.
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    Evaluating immigrant-specific adverse childhood experiences as a social determinant of health among Latino immigrant families
    (2022) Conway, C. Andrew; Lew, Amy; Family Studies; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Research consistently demonstrates the critical role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), traditionally defined as exposure to abuse, neglect, and household risk factors, in shaping overall health and well-being throughout life and even across generations. However, our current conceptualization and measurement of ACEs are based on items initially examined in a primarily white, middle-class, highly educated sample. This strategy may provide a limited understanding of childhood adversity within marginalized groups. This study aimed to examine the relationship between ACEs (both traditionally studied ACEs and immigrant-specific ACEs) and the psychological well-being of Latino immigrant adolescents. The relationship between parental experiences of ACEs, child ACEs, and child psychological well-being was also explored. Data comes from a community sample of 338 Latino immigrant adolescents. These youth completed an 11-item measure of traditional ACEs (ACE-T), a novel 13-item measure of immigrant-specific ACEs (ACE-I), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and health risk behavior items as part of the intake process for a positive youth development program. Data on parent ACEs was available for a subsample (n¬ = 112). Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationship between the ACEs measures and the psychological and health risk outcomes. Immigrant youth, on average, reported more adversities on the ACE-I measure than the ACE-T measure (3.6 vs. 1.6). Both ACE-T and ACE-I scores were positively related to increased emotional issues (standardized coefficients were .24 and .25, respectively). Only ACE-T scores were related to increased conduct problems and peer relationship problems. There was no relationship between adolescents' ACE-T or ACE-I scores with prosocial or health risk behaviors. The parent's ACE-T scores were positively related to the child's ACE-T scores (b = .18). These findings suggest that essential early adverse experiences for immigrants, which have not been considered, impact adolescents' psychological well-being. Broadening our conceptualization and measurement of ACEs among immigrant populations could provide valuable insight into social determinants of health and avenues for intervention for immigrant adolescents and families.
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    Racial Socialization, Observed Maternal Conflict Behaviors, and Externalizing Problems in Black Mother- Adolescent Dyads
    (2021) Shan, Salwa; Smith-Bynum, Mia; Family Studies; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    African Americans living in the United States face unique stressors as a result of being part of a marginalized group that has been consistently at the bottom of the social structure system. We see the impact of systemic racism when we look at the racial disparities associated with various economic, political, and civil rights in our society. The emphasis on rules and strict parenting in African American families is related to the need that many African American parents feel to protect and inform their children of the many forms of racial discrimination they will face in American society. In order to raise children who are less likely to be engaged in risk behaviors and better prepared for the environment they are living in, African American parents enforce stricter rules and discipline for their children and utilize racial socialization as a unique parenting strategy. Adolescents who struggle for behavioral autonomy in areas where parents try to emphasize their control, often engage in deviant behavior and are more at risk of struggling to be compliant with rules and adjusting as they grow and develop. Some research has indicated that parent-child conflict has increased when there has been a focus on rules due to adolescents’ desire for autonomy. The role of maternal conflict as a contextual factor when delivering racial socialization messages has not been studied and may have significant impacts on the transmission and reception of such messages. This study aims to address the gap in research and connect the contextual factors of parent-child relationship quality in influencing the transmission and reception of racial socialization messages as seen by the impact on externalizing behaviors in adolescents.