references to our published studies

References to Our Published Studies
1. Riley, D., Meinhardt, G., Nelson, C., Salisbury, M., & Winnett, T. (1991). How
effective are age-paced newsletters for new parents? A replication and extension of
earlier studies. Family Relations, 40, 247-253.
An age-paced child-rearing newsletter was evaluated. Respondents rated the
newsletter as more useful than other sources of child-rearing information, including
physicians and nurses, relatives, and other printed materials. In 70% of households,
two or more people read the newsletter. Most parents reported that reading the
newsletters led them to change their child-rearing behaviors in five key areas. Parents
in six risk categories reported significantly more of these positive behavior changes,
suggesting both that the self-reports are meaningful, and that the newsletters produced
the most benefit for those who needed it most. The use of the newsletters in various
applied settings is described.
2. Riley, D. (1997). Using local research to change 100 communities for children
and families. American Psychologist, 52, 424-433.
Two projects aimed at improving child development are described. In each, a
research project was replicated over 50 times as a means of moving over 100
communities to action on their own behalf. The projects produced meaningful
changes in the local social institutions serving families, including 92 new school-age
child care programs for one project and, for the other, 80 community distribution
systems reaching 40,000 families with a parenting intervention. Comparing initial
failures with later successes in the projects, a contrast is drawn between giving away
the knowledge of psychology (the diffusion or expert model of outreach) versus
giving away the knowledge-generation process through collaborative research with
community groups.
3. Walker, S. K., & Riley, D. A. (2001). Involvement of the personal social network
as a factor in parent education effectiveness. Family Relations, 50, 186-193.
This study examined the impact of mothers’ involvement with their social
networks upon their self-reported changes in behaviors and attitudes due to a
parenting intervention – in this case monthly, age-paced parenting newsletters. Path
analyses revealed that discussing and sharing newsletter copies with others was
associated with greater self-reported change, but did not significantly mediate the
relationship between newsletter use and parental change. Rather, individual use of
the newsletter and social sharing of the content had independent effects on parenting.
The results support a general view that the advice of parenting programs is not
accepted or rejected in a vacuum, but often within the context of discussions within
the participants’ existing social networks. This suggests two practical implications
for program developers: (a) Interventions might be more effective if they encouraged
such social network processing of program advice, and (b) programs might even
target social networks rather than individual parents as their clients.