CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
UI professors win Obermann Center grants to study children
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Four University of Iowa faculty members have won
grants from the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies to support their research
on children and families. The Spelman Rockefeller Grants for studies of
children and their families provide up to $5,000 in funding and are awarded
annually to UI faculty members.
This year's winners are: Jennifer Glass, professor of sociology; Joyce
L. Moore, assistant professor of psychological and quantitative foundations,
Michael W. O'Hara, professor of psychology, and Scott R. Robinson, associate
professor of psychology.
Jay Semel, director of the Obermann Center, said that winners of these
grants in recent years have gone on to win grants from the National Institutes
of Health and the American Heart Association and have published articles
on the newborn heart, on classroom community-building, and on children
who are accident-prone. In addition, winners of the Spelman Rockefeller
grants occasionally present their research findings to local community
These grants are supported by the UI Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fund
and by the Office of the Vice President for Research.
The projects being funded this year include:
"Family Responsive Workplace Policies, Parenting, and Children's
Well-Being: A Study Relating Employment Conditions to Family Functioning,"
by Jennifer Glass. She will study approximately 80 Midwestern dual-earner
couples with children to determine how family-responsive policies at the
parents' workplaces affect parental behavior and children's outcomes. Family-responsive
workplace policies include flexible scheduling, reduced work hours, and
"Transfer of Mathematical Learning and Reasoning," by Joyce
L. Moore. This study will attempt to understand better what it means to
learn and reason mathematically. Moore will focus on beginning algebraic
reasoning with an emphasis on the psychological issues involved in linking
familiar physical experiences with abstract mathematics. She will study
how children learn and reason about linear functional relations, and how
they transfer their learning to new situations.
"Transcultural Study of Postpartum Depression," by Michael
W. O'Hara. This project involves collecting the initial data necessary
to support the North American component of a transcultural study of postpartum
depression and its effects on children. In this initial phase, O'Hara will
be collecting data about the effectiveness of a newly-developed test that
measures social adversity and social support, particularly for pregnant
women. The test, called "Contextual Assessment of Maternity Experience,"
was developed in England and must be tested in other countries before it
can be used in the full transcultural study O'Hara is planning with colleagues
in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific
"Organization of Motor Activity in the Preterm Infant," by
Scott R. Robinson. He will study the development of motor activity in preterm
human infants to determine whether similar studies performed on animals
provide data that can be applied to human development. The study also will
attempt to assess the potential influence of diet -- breast milk versus
formula -- on the expression and development of organized motor activity
in the preterm infant.