Child and Family Development Laboratory – Department of Psychology

Welcome to the Child and Family Development Laboratory

The Child and Family Development Laboratory (CFDL) at the University of Michigan focuses on the social and emotional development of infants, toddlers, and young children in the context of family relationships and is directed by Dr. Brenda Volling. CFD research focuses on any number of aspects of family relationship functioning, but there are two areas that are most prominent in the lab, one is a focus on research on fathering, families, and children’s development and the second is a focus on siblings and particularly the changes in children’s adjustment and family life when a baby sibling is born (The Family Transitions Study).

Recent Publications

The SRCD Monograph presenting the initial findings from the Family Transitions Study examining changes in children’s behavior problems following the birth of an infant sibling: 

Volling, B. L., Gonzalez, R., Oh, W., Song, J-H., Yu, T., Rosenberg, L., Kuo, P. X. Thomason, E., Beyers-Carlson, E., Safyer, P., & Stevenson, M. M. (2017). Developmental trajectories of children’s adjustment across the transition to siblinghood: Pre-birth predictors and sibling outcomes at one year. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 82(3), Serial No. 326.

The SRCD Monograph resulting from the work of the International Working Group on Advancing Research and Measurement on Fathering and Children’s Development: 

Volling, B. L. & Cabrera, N. J. (2019). Advancing research and measurement on fathering and children’s development. Monographs of the Society for Research on Child Development, Vol. 84 (1).


Family Transitions Study

Phase I: The Family Transitions Study followed 241 families across the transition to siblinghood, when only children become older siblings.

Family Transitions and Toddler Development

Phase II: FTTD followed families of the original FTS study when infants were 18, 24, and 36 months.

Baby Sib Study

The Baby Sib Study is a pilot investigation using a simulated mother-doll interaction in the laboratory to predict children’s jealousy of a newborn sibling.

Latest News

  • Dr. Volling Featured in NY Times
    Childhood Without Other Children: A Generation is Raised in Quarantine December 9, 2020 No playdates in sight: Alice McGraw at the Mount Olympus monument in San Francisco. Credit…Cayce Clifford for The New York Times
  • Joyce Lee Publishes Children’s Book
    Joyce Lee, U-M PhD student, Emily Ku, U-M MSW student, and Maggie Chen, a clinical social worker and a graduate of U-M SSW, recently wrote a children’s book on fighting anti-Asian racism during COVID-19 called Young, Proud, And Sung-Jee. The purpose of this book is to create meaningful discussion and dialogue between adults and children …

    Joyce Lee Publishes Children’s Book Read More »

  • Sibling Article in NY Times
    How to Raise Siblings Who Get Along Feb 20, 2020 iStock by Getty Images
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