Recent SRC Projects

Family Foundations 2 (FF2)
Principal Investigator: Mark E. Feinberg
FF2 is a multi-component longitudinal panel project that studies parents of new babies starting at the pre-natal stage. The project incorporates three waves of face to face data collection, multiple videotaped interactions between parents and baby, optional DNA genotyping, and an optional two waves of 8 day telephone diary interviews. The sample size is 440 couples, and data are currently being collected for all 3 waves of face to face interviews and both waves of telephone diary interviews. In June 2008 the SRC began face to face interviews with couples expecting their first child in Hershey, Pa and Baltimore, Md. Two additional sites, Fort Worth, TX and Newark, DE were added in late 2010.

The goal of the study is to collect data that will evaluate the effectiveness of the Family Foundations Program (the program includes pre-natal parenting classes), promote positive co-parenting (the way that parents support each other) and gain a better understanding of how families cope with the birth of a new baby. Participants complete self-administered questionnaires, and participate in 3 videotaped interactions and have the option to participate in two waves of telephone diary interviews intended to measure stress and well-being on a daily basis. This study is funded by NIH.

Family Relationships Project
Principal Investigators: Susan M. McHale and Ann C. Crouter
In Fall 2012, the Survey Research Center (SRC) began the programming of multiple instruments for Wave 12 of the Family Relationships Project (FRP). The FRP is a longitudinal, mixed-mode study that has repeatedly measured the development of 200 families through in-person, telephone, and web interviews with four family members (two parents and two offspring). Families were originally recruited from the Central Pennsylvania area in 1995 when the children were in middle school. The goal of the FRP is to study how families change and develop as children grow into adults and start their own families.

Waves 11 and 12, the only waves of data collection conducted by SRC, brought significant changes to the study. For the first time, a phone survey was combined with a lengthier online or mail survey. After completing a phone survey, participants were given a link to a customized online survey or were mailed a copy of a customized paper survey, based on their responses to the phone survey. In waves 11 and 12, the study expanded its scope to interview the romantic partners of the young adults who have been participating in the study since early middle school.

First Baby Study
Principal Investigator: Kristen H. Kjerulff
The First Baby Study (FBS) is a longitudinal study of 3003 first-time mothers that began in 2008. Funded by NICHD, FBS is a seven year study of family growth; the study began with baseline phone interviews of expectant women in Pennsylvania and has been following up with additional phone interviews every six months. Approximately 15,000 interviews (about 65% of total) have been completed as of April 2012.

In 2012, the study made a significant change in the modes of data collection offered. In order to make funding go further, participants began to be offered the option to complete the survey over the web. This transition was facilitated by the Penn State Survey Research Center. The length of the survey combined with the subject matter made this transition attractive to many respondents. Data collection will conclude in late 2014.

Health Improvement Collaborative Aligning Forces for Quality Initiative Survey (AF4Q)
Principal Investigator: Dennis P. Scanlon
This study involves web-based data collection from individuals who participate as members of AF4Q Initiative or from those who have an interest in the initiative or its activities. The purpose is to provide feedback on the characteristics, experiences, and perceptions of its members and interested stakeholders and to describe and track how such alliances change and develop over time. Several waves of this study have been implemented and completed, with additional waves to continue through 2015. This study is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Physical Activity and Daily Experiences (PADE) Study
Principal Investigator: Kristin E. Heron
The Dynamic Real-time Ecological Ambulatory Methodologies (DREAM) program at the Penn State Survey Research Center recently began work on developing a smartphone survey app that wirelessly integrates with a wearable accelerometer. DREAM has existing programming software that allows for customized survey apps to be developed and deployed on smartphones for data collection, but this is the first time the app data is being integrated with data from an external device.

The system being developed for the PADE Study uses a Bluetooth-enabled accelerometer to assess participants’ activity levels and the smartphone app is then used to provide real-time feedback to participants regarding their activities, as they go about their daily lives. In contrast to other activity assessment devices, these procedures not only assess physical activity using an accelerometer, but also provide feedback on activity levels and personalized step goals. This assessment and treatment approach is being develop and evaluated as part of a 3-arm randomized controlled trial with overweight and obese adults who are insufficiently active, with the hope of encouraging higher levels of daily activity in these individuals. The DREAM program recently concluded the development phase of this study and data collection is now underway.

PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience)
Principal Investigator: Mark T. Greenberg
PROSPER stands for PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience. PROSPER isn’t a program, rather it is a scientifically-proven delivery system that facilitates sustained, quality delivery of evidence-based programs that reduce risky youth behaviors, enhance positive youth development and strengthen families.

This delivery system links university-based prevention researchers with two established program delivery systems within a state—the Cooperative Extension System at the Land Grant University and the public school system. The public school system offers collaborators who support evidence-based programs access to youth in the community. Extension offers knowledge of the community and experience in disseminating educational programs. In this way, the delivery system entails a partnership-based approach to evidence-based programming, called the PROSPER Partnership model.

In Pennsylvania, the Penn State Survey Research Center has been the main data collection organization for a variety of survey research services. These services include multiple waves of in-school student data collection across 14 school districts, hundreds of in-home interviews, and web and phone follow-up interviews with students who have graduated from high school. Data collection is ongoing, currently in its third 5-year grant from NIH, through approximately 2018.

Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program
Principal Investigator: James C. DiPerna
The Penn State Survey Research Center is involved in a multi-year project to assist with assessment of the Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP; Elliott & Gresham, 2007). Implemented in many schools, educators and parents hope that it will improve social skills and reduce problem behaviors that interfere with learning. To find out, Dr. James DiPerna, along with his colleague from Penn State, Dr. Puiwa Lei, received a 4-year award from the Institute of Education Sciences to examine the efficacy of this intervention program. The assessment project is ambitious: Diperna and Lei planned the project in two locations in Pennsylvania (Bangor and Erie) involving 1500 first and second graders and their teachers.

The project requires utilizing many of the resources of the Survey Research Center. Experienced field interviewers travel to Bangor and Erie and, in coordination with the participating schools, administer a series of questionnaires to the children – half of whom are in classrooms randomly selected to participate in the program, while others serve as the control group. Some involve traditional pencil and paper booklets, and others are better suited to be completed on SRC’s Ruggid laptops using Mi-fi connectivity. These laptops allow students to put on headphones and listen to questions and then answer using the mouse or keyboard. An additional part of the assessment involves detailed observation of teachers as they implemented the Social Skill Improvement curriculum in their classrooms, with the results of the observations entered remotely to SRC’s computer servers in University Park through a web based data collection system. The finely tuned customization of the assessment means that each kind of assessment data could be collected in the most accurate and efficient manner. Data collection will continue following the youth through a total of three data points.

Strengthening Afterschool Programs
Principal Investigator: Emilie P. Smith
The Smith Legacy mobile project uses PDAs to collect data that will be used to evaluate the staff and children at various afterschool programs. The goal of the project is to explore strengthening afterschool programs through helping to build supportive relationships among staff and children. The Legacy team hopes to learn about the positive ways that afterschool programs can help children grow and develop and to learn about challenges to developing supportive afterschool sites. The project targets children in grades 2, 3, 4 & 5.