Parent Involvement in School: Conceptualizing Multiple Dimensions and Their Relations with Family and Demographic Risk Factors
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Kenneth A. Dodge is the William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He is also the founding and past director of the Center for Child and Family Policy, as well as the founder of Family Connects International.
Dodge is a leading scholar in the development and prevention of aggressive and violent behaviors. His work provides a model for understanding how some young children grow up to engage in aggression and violence and provides a framework for intervening early to prevent the costly consequences of violence for children and their communities.
Dodge joined the faculty of the Sanford School of Public Policy in September 1998. He is trained as a clinical and developmental psychologist, having earned his B.A. in psychology at Northwestern University in 1975 and his Ph.D. in psychology at Duke University in 1978. Prior to joining Duke, Dodge served on the faculty at Indiana University, the University of Colorado, and Vanderbilt University.
Dodge's research has resulted in the Family Connects Program, an evidence-based, population health approach to supporting families of newborn infants. Piloted in Durham, NC, and formerly known as Durham Connects, the program attempts to reach all families giving birth in a community to assess family needs, intervene where needed, and connect families to tailored community resources. Randomized trials indicate the program's success in improving family connections to the community, reducing maternal depression and anxiety, and preventing child abuse. The model is currently expanding to many communities across the U.S.
Dodge has published more than 500 scientific articles which have been cited more than 120,000 times.
Elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2015, Dodge has received many honors and awards, including the following:
- President (Elected), Society for Research in Child Development
- Fellow, Society for Prevention Research
- Distinguished Scientist, Child Mind Institute
- Research Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health
- Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution from the American Psychological Association
- J.P. Scott Award for Lifetime Contribution to Aggression Research from the International Society for Research on Aggression
- Science to Practice Award from the Society for Prevention Research
- Inaugural recipient of the “Public Service Matters” Award from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration
- Inaugural recipient of the Presidential Citation Award for Excellence in Research from the Society for Research on Adolescence
My current research interests fall into three primary areas. First, we are engaged in a series of studies examining dysfunctional social-cognitive processes of aggressive children and adolescents. Recently, we have examined the unique and shared social cognition problems of severely violent vs. moderately aggressive boys, and we have explored how certain aspects of social information processing (e.g. attributions are predictive of reactive aggression, while other components (e.g. outcome expectations) are related to proactive aggression. The social goals of aggressive adolescents have also been found to influence their social problem-solving, and boys' social goal pattern of excessively valuing dominance and revenge while under-emphasizing affiliation was associated with conduct problem and substance use outcomes in adolescence. In a series of studies we have also examined how aggressive children develop distorted perceptions of self and others' behavior during dyadic peer interactions, and have recently found that aggressive boys' initial rigid schematic expectations for dyadic behavior heavily influenced their subsequent perceptions of behavior. Second, we have begun examining parent and family factors which potentially influence children's social cognition and behavior. Mother's attributional biases have been found to mirror their aggressive son's attributional biases, and maternal child-rearing style (e.g., less facilitation, more control) has been predictive of their sons' outcome expectations that aggressive behavior will have positive outcomes. In addition, we have found that marital conflict adds to the effect of parent-to-child aggressive behavior in predicting to children's reactive aggression, but not to proactive aggression These results have indicated the etiological role of parental social cognition and marital conflict in producing children's emotionally-disregulated and aggressive behavior. Third, we have been engaged in a programmatic series of research studies over the past two decades examining the effects of preventive interventions and cognitive-behavioral therapy with aggressive children. In two current grant-funded projects, I am evaluating the effectiveness of a Coping Power Program in reducing fourth-to-sixth grade boys' aggressive behavior and their subsequent substance use and delinquency, and I am a co-PI with John Coie in assessing the FAST Track program. FAST Track is a multisite, comprehensive indicated prevention program which intervenes with high risk children, their parents, and their teachers over a six-year span from first through sixth grades to prevent later serious conduct problems. In both of these programs we also examine mediating processes which produce improvements in children's behavior.
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