Skip to main content

Family Life Project

Since 2013, we have been working the Family Life Project, a large-scale, longitudinal study of over 1,000 children in families from rural areas in Pennsylvania and North Carolina that was initiated in 2003-2004 by investigators at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Pennsylvania State University. The children have been followed since early infancy; we at Rochester joined the study when the children were approaching adolescence to study how early life experiences and exposures shaped mental and somatic health, and particularly the role of immune health.  So far, key findings include a) the observation that there is a social class gradient of immune health appearing as early as adolescence; b) early psychological and family stressors predict inflammation, a major mechanism of health, in early adolescence.

Our ongoing work on this project has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Office of the Director at the NIH, and the Wynne Center for Family Research.

The Rochester group of investigators includes Drs. Tom O’Connor, Mary Caserta, and Jan Moynihan.

Representative Publications

Finegood, E.D., Wyman, C., O’Connor, T.G., Blair, C.B., and the Family Life Project Investigators. (2017). Salivary cortisol and cognitive development in infants from low-income communities. Stress, 20, 112-121. PMID 28114869

Gatzke-Kopp, L., Willoughby, M.T., Warkentien, S.M., O’Connor, T, Granger, D., & Blair, C. (2019). Magnitude and chronicity of environmental smoke exposure across infancy and early childhood in a sample of low-income children. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 21, 1665-1672. PMID 30517756

O’Connor, T.G., Willoughby, M.T., Moynihan, J.A., Messing, S., Vallejo Sefair, A., Carnahan, J., Yin X., Caserta, M.T. (2019). Early childhood risk exposures and inflammation in early adolescence. Brain, Behavior and Immunity. PMID 31059804

« back to all projects