Brenda L. Volling, Ph.D.

My research focuses on the role of fathers for young children’s social and emotional development, father-infant attachment, how men’s personality and partner relationships predict their fathering and the hormonal basis of fathering.  My current research has focused on the supportive role of fathers for their firstborn children after the birth of the second child and how the older child adjusts to the birth of a baby sibling (see article: Children’s responses to mother–infant and father–infant interaction with a baby sibling: Jealousy or joy? ) I have several active collaborations underway with other CHGD father researchers including an ultrasound study with Dr. Rich Tolman asking fathers to discuss how they prepare their children for the impending birth of a second baby, and a new brain imaging study with Dr. James Swain and graduate student, Paige Safyer, looking at the neural underpinnings of mother-infant and father-infant interaction using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). With post-doctoral fellow, Matt Stevenson, I will be spending a week at Marbach Castle in Germany sponsored by the Jacobs Foundation to work alongside colleagues Daniel Paquette (University of Montreal) and Natasha Cabrera (University of Maryland) to develop an observational coding system for father-infant interactions. Recently, Natasha Cabrera and I received funding from the Society for Research in Child Development to convene an international working group of fatherhood researchers that will meet in Ann Arbor in May 2016 to discuss the best practices for conducting research with fathers. The Center is also working with other CHGD researchers and Dr. Carolyn Dayton at Wayne State University to help facilitate university-community partnerships that will evaluate current services for fathers and help service providers institute evidence-based practices to assist and support fathers and their families.