Past Research Projects

Project FRESH: A Multi-systems Research-based Intervention 
Dr. Bonnie Braun 
Dr. Braun, as the Evaluation Project Leader of the Maryland Food Stamp Nutrition Education program, working with a team of investigators and Extension educators are investigating the effects of school, family and community environments on the fruit and vegetable consumption of elementary school children. The research and intervention project is focused on elementary children in schools with 50% or more eligible for free or reduced price meals. Pre and post intervention assessments are providing insight into the factors that influence consumption. At the end of the first year, students were liking and eating more fruits and vegetables than when school started. Click here for more information on FY 2007 Project FRESH Evaluation Results.

Time Use Data Access System
Dr. Sandy Hofferth
The Time Use Data Access System is a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to integrate, document and disseminate individual-level data on how people allocate their time. This project facilitates research on parental time with children, how time use influences heath, household responses to changing economic conditions, and cross-national research on health and well-being in different cultural and policy settings. Current data come from the American Time Use Survey, a nationally representative survey of American households from 2003 to the present. Future data will include historical time use studies and international time use data sets.  The data are accessible through a web site:   http://www.atusdata.org/

Food Resource Management Program
Dr. Jinhee Kim 
Dr. Kim and Family Science graduate students developed food resource management teaching materials and studied the effectiveness of the program. The goal of the project was to increase the food security of low-income families in Maryland. Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

Research Coordinating Network: the NSF Social Observatories Coordination Network
Dr. Sandy Hofferth
Dr. Hofferth's project, "Research Coordinating Network: the NSF Social Observatories Coordination Network," stems from a three-year, $300,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) award. It assists with developing and planning a set of regional cyberinfrastruture  centers for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic (SBE) sciences that will transform SBE science. These centers will address questions of central interest to the  SBE sciences and will focus on two broad intellectual themes: 1) opportunity and mobility and 2) change and adaptation.  The network will consider new designs and platforms for data collection, curation, and dissemination, while protecting privacy and confidentiality.  Information on the network and its activities is available at http://socialobservatories.org/.

Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program Evaluation
Dr. Bonnie Braun 
The goal of this project is to help the Food Stamp program more effectively improve the diet of participants and the systems that affect their lives. Dr. Braun and Family Science graduate students collect data from Food Stamp eligible individuals about their attitudes and behaviors relating to use of the Food Stamp program, including views of the program and its operations. They also conduct an evaluation of the Maryland Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program each year. The funding for this project is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

Microeconomic Analysis of Russian Households
Dr. Manouchehr Mokhtari
Dr. Mokhtari conducted a microeconomic analysis of Russian household behavior under the condition of transition to a market economy. This study investigates important microeconomic issues using a longitudinal survey of 4,090 Russian households. Cross-sectional data sets provide information about household decision-making in the emerging economies of countries formerly in the Soviet Union. Dr. Mokhtari applies a variety of mathematical and quantitative methods to model and analyze economic issues and international investigations of household behavior.

Rural Families Speak: Tracking the Well-Being of Rural Low-Income Families in the Context of Welfare Reform
Dr. Bonnie Braun , Dr. Elaine Anderson, Dr. Susan Walker, and Dr. Jinhee Kim 
Dr. Braun, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Walker, Dr. Jinhee Kim, and graduate students are collaborating with 14 other land-grant universities to conduct an interdisciplinary, multi-state, longitudinal study to assess the impact of declining public assistance, on the well-being of rural families and their communities. In 2000, 433 mothers from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds were interviewed. They were interviewed again in 2001 and 2002. Community leaders are also being interviewed. The researchers are collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data on families and communities. The research will provide important information to program administrators and policy makers who are seeking to help families gain, regain, and/or retain their means of economic self-sufficiency. The University of Maryland Graduate Research Board, Maryland Cooperative Extension and Department of Family Science, University of Maryland System Women's Forum, the American Association of Family Consumer Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Department of Human Resources are providing funding for the project.

Unheard Voices: Engaging Limited Resource Citizens in the Deliberative Public Policy Process 
Dr. Bonnie Braun and Dr. Elaine Anderson
With funding from the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, faculty and students are investigating the question: "Under what conditions can, and will, limited resource citizens engage in deliberative public policy practices?" The study known as Unheard Voices is an outgrowth of the longitudinal study, Rural Families Speak. Phase One of Unheard Voices began in 2004 with interviews of Maryland's families participating in the Rural Families Speak project and expanded to focus groups with other rural, low-income families and human service personnel. One overriding issue emerged: recreation was important for families and especially youth. A forum, modeled after the National Issues Forum, was conducted. Phase Two, continued examination of the conditions, continues through 2005. View preliminary findings from Unheard Voices Phase One.

Women's Use of Alcohol Treatment Services
Dr. Jacqueline Wallen and Dr. Manouchehr Mokhtari 
Dr. Wallen and Dr. Mokhtari conducted a three-year study funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) to better understand how women with alcohol problems use treatment services. The study employed a sample of over 100 Maryland alcoholism treatment centers and approximately 250 female patients in these units to investigate patterns of alcoholism treatment utilization among particular subpopulations of women (such as women with children and women covered by Medicaid) in different treatment settings. Information on the women included in the study was gathered at two points in time: shortly after entry into treatment and after 6 months. Data collected on individual women include previous treatment, referral source, type of treatment, insurance coverage, age, race, severity of alcoholism, drug use, presence of psychiatric comorbidities, motivation for treatment, treatment goals, and alcohol/drug problems at 6-month followup.