The Center for Research on Families supports faculty by advancing research to increase our understanding of the diversity, health, and well being of families.
CRF is committed to creating opportunities for research collaboration and forming intellectual communities that bring students and researchers together across disciplinary boundaries CRF collaborates with other centers, departments, schools, and colleges within UMass Amherst to develop multidisciplinary projects. Faculty from the Five Colleges and other UMass campuses also engage in joint ventures with CRF, which has led to innovative projects and an extended network of research opportunities.
Supporting Faculty “Think Tanks”: Bringing together interdisciplinary teams of faculty with shared interests in issues and topics of importance to families such as stress, work and family, early child development, adolescence, and, aging. Research supported by CRF encompasses disciplines as diverse as the life sciences, social sciences, public health, nursing, education and natural resources, and more.
The Center for Research on Families works with faculty and research groups to provide teaching, research, and public service to benefit families. CRF affiliated faculty groups include:
- Family Research Scholars: A year-long interdisciplinary faculty seminar that provides a carefully selected group of UMass Amherst faculty the opportunities for peer mentorship, and national expert consultation to prepare a large grant proposal in support of their research. Activities are designed to create collaborations with faculty from different disciplines at various stages in their research careers.
- Rudd Adoption Research Program: Established to designate UMass Amherst as the leader in state-of-the-art research on the psychology of adoption through conferences, workshops, graduate and postdoctoral training opportunities, and stimulation of research activities. Similar to CRF's multidisciplinary approach and its mission to mentor the next generation of researchers, the Rudd Adoption program strives to develop synergy among scientists from different academic contexts who share interests in the many topics relevant to adoption.
- Stress Research Group: Researchers met regularly to discuss and examine the biological, behavioral, and social indices and outcomes of stress. Their research examines the causes of stress, the effects of stress, and unique methods for measuring stress in animals and humans. The Stress Research Group applies a lifespan approach to study, measuring stress from gestation and infancy, through adolescence and young adulthood, and to menopause and beyond.
- Public Engagement Project: Provides supports and trains faculty members from all disciplines to use their research to contribute to social change, inform public policy, and enrich public debate. CRF, in collaboration with ISSR, the School for Public Policy, and the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, spearheaded this program, which has resulted in national exposure for faculty in public media outlets such as PBS, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Huffington Post, to name a few.
- Menopause Research Group: An interdisciplinary group of researchers who come together each month in order to share their interests in older women’s health. The members of the group study menopause, midlife, and aging in human, macaque, and rodent models using a variety of methods, including secondary data analyses, questionnaires, fMRI, muscle biopsies, movement monitors, hormone levels, ambulatory hot flash monitors, and more.
What are Family Research Scholars researching?
- Dr. Holly Laws' research on early stage Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and their spouses
- Dr. Jeffrey Starns' research on the effect of visualization on students’ learning module
- Dr. Kalpana Poudel-Tandukar's research reducing stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms via a family-centered preventative intervention