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Conference spotlights consequences of parental incarceration

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By H. Roger Segelken for the Cornell Chronicle:

haskins

Anna Haskins speaking

With millions of American parents, mostly fathers, locked in jails and prisons, a national conference at Cornell Sept. 15-16 shined the spotlight on their kids back home.

“Minimizing the Collateral Damage: Interventions to Diminish the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children” was the topic of the Fifth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference, featuring a multidisciplinary mix of scholars from more than a dozen institutions and programs.

“One of the most shocking phenomena this country has witnessed in the last century has been the unprecedented rise in mass incarceration,” said conference co-organizer Anna Haskins, Cornell assistant professor of sociology and member of the Center for the Study of Inequality. An estimated 1 in 14 American children (about 7 percent) has a parent incarcerated at some point in their young lives, observed Haskins. Of special concern, she emphasized, “is the overwhelming disparity in which this issue touches African-American and Hispanic but not white populations.”

Haskins hopes the conference opens new areas of inquiry for social scientists. “We know more about the deleterious consequences for imprisoned individuals and former inmates,” she said, “but less attention has been paid to the broader fallout for families.”

The conference series and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) are named for Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005), the renowned developmental psychologist who taught at Cornell for more than 50 years and developed the so-called ecological systems theory. Several conference-goers said the ecological approach could help to untangle incarceration’s effect on family and society.

wildeman

Christopher Wildeman speaking

Christopher Wildeman, associate director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research and associate professor of policy analysis and management, speaks at the conference.
Said conference co-organizer Christopher Wildeman, BCTR associate director and associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology: “The conference’s multidisciplinary focus, in addition to being highly consistent with Urie’s own academic orientation, is also unique within this research field – where psychologists, sociologists, economists and criminologists who study the consequences of parental incarceration rarely publish in the same journals, attend the same conferences or grapple with each others’ perspectives.”

One productive outcome of the conference, Wildeman said, will be a proceedings volume with authors from all those fields, published by the American Psychological Association.

A third conference co-organizer, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, professor of human ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that “developmental perspectives are lacking” so far in most studies of incarceration’s consequences. Scholars need to know “how parental incarceration can get under the skin of children and influence through an entire life course.” When considering a child’s resilience in the face of parental incarceration, Poehlmann-Tynan said, researchers should remember “resilience is a process, not a characteristic or trait.” Some children appear to do surprisingly well during parental incarceration, she said. “We can’t paint the picture that parental incarceration (inevitably) is doom.”

Sara Wakefield, an associate professor in the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice (and co-author, with Wildeman, of “Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality”) sought to correct some popular misconceptions. Many parents hide their criminal activity from their children – until, that is, they’re arrested, prosecuted and punished, she said. Furthermore, long sentences in state or federal prisons aren’t the only source of stigma and trauma among convicts’ children. Hundreds of thousands of Americans cycle through local jails every month, Wakefield said, “and even short spells in jail are highly consequential for children.”

Sociologist Kristin Turney, from the University of California, Irvine, highlighted possible effects of parental incarceration, including strains on parental relationships, economic well-being and health, and suggested children might develop behavior problems or experience diminished cognitive skills. Among the youngest children of incarcerated parents, boys seem to be most affected, Turney said. But as children mature, girls are more likely to be troubled by a father’s incarceration.

Joyce Arditti, professor of human development and family studies at Virginia Tech, reported some children growing up with an incarcerated biological parent they never knew – outside or inside prison walls – can still be affected by that stigmatizing association.

As for the Bronfenbrenner conference venue as an apt place to discuss family-ecological perspectives of child development, Arditti said: “It’s kind of cool to be here in his ‘backyard.’”

Conference spotlights consequences of parental incarceration - Cornell Chronicle

Video of the full conference is available on our YouTube channel and in the media library on this web site.

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Fifth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference

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Minimizing the Collateral Damage: Interventions to Diminish the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children

September 15-16, 2016

Conference program

The fifth biennial conference in honor of the legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner convened a panel of leading researchers in an effort to cultivate interdisciplinary perspectives and consider the micro-, meso-, and macro-level interventions that best minimize the consequences of parental incarceration for children, families, and communities. Presentations emphasized the strongest interdisciplinary research on the consequences of paternal and maternal incarceration for children (with special attention to mediators and moderators) as well as discussing policies and individual-level interventions that could help lessen the likelihood of parental incarceration or help children whose parents have experienced incarceration. The conference’s overarching goal is to strengthen the connections between research, policy, and practice in the area of collateral consequences of mass incarceration for children.

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New Book: “Emotion, Aging, and Health”

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aging emotions book coverAlthough older adults face significant health challenges, they tend to have better emotion regulation skills than younger or middle-age adults. Why is this so? And how might we use this knowledge to promote better health and well-being in adulthood and later life?

The newest book in the Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development, Emotion, Aging, and Health (American Psychological Association), explores the reciprocal relations between aging and emotion, as well as applications for promoting mental and physical health across the lifespan. The authors discuss the neural and cognitive mechanisms behind age-related shifts in affective experience and processing.

In addition to presenting emotion regulation strategies for offsetting age-related declines in mental and physical functioning, the book examines the role of culture and motivation in shaping emotional experience across the lifespan, as well as the factors defining boundary conditions between human illness and human flourishing in old age.

By highlighting these major advances in interdisciplinary research, the authors suggest promising avenues for intervention.

The work presented in Emotion, Aging, and Health, edited by Anthony Ong and Corinna Loeckenhoff, is drawn from presentations made at the Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference.

ong loeckenhoff

Anthony Ong and Corinna Loeckenoff at the 2013 Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference.

The book's chapter co-authors include the co-editors and conference organizers Corinna Loeckenhoff and Anthony Ong along with Emily D. Bastarache, Julia K. Boehm, George A. Bonanno, Charles L. Burton, Susan T. Charles, Carmen Écija Gallardo, Frank J. Infurna, Derek M. Isaacowitz, Laura D. Kubzansky, Kate A. Leger, Kimberly M. Livingstone, Gloria Luong, Bruna Martins, Mara Mather, Daniel K. Mroczek, Michaela Riediger, Tamara Sims, Jeanne L. Tsai, Emily J. Urban, Heather L. Urry, Lilian Velasco, Alex J. Zautra, and Eva K. Zautra. The foreword is written by BCTR director Karl Pillemer.

The book is the fourth in the APA's Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development, each volume in which results from research presented at a Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference. The first three books in the series are:

 

chaos book coverChaos and Its Influence on Children's Development: An Ecological Perspective, edited by Gary Evans and Theodore Wach

 

 

news-trbook-inpost-sm

Research for the Public Good: Applying Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well-being, edited by Elaine Wethington and Rachel Dunifon

 

 

neuroscience book coverThe Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making, edited by Valerie Reyna, and Vivian Zayas

 

 

 

Video from the Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference

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Chats in the Stacks with Neuro book editor Valerie Reyna

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news-reyna-inpostValerie Reyna, professor of human development and psychology, will be speaking in Mann Library's "Chats in the Stacks" series about her book The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making (co-edited with Vivian Zayas, associate professor of psychology). This is the newest volume in the Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development, out this month from the American Psychological Association (APA). The work within is drawn from presentations from the Third Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference.

Whether the decision is to have unprotected sex, save or spend, consent to surgery, or have an extra helping of dessert, risky decisions permeate our lives, sometimes with disastrous consequences. How and why risk taking occurs has important implications, yet we have many unanswered questions about what influences risky behavior. This new book aims to help us understand the neural roots of bad decisions and paves the way for translation of science into practice and policy.

The talk will be held at 12pm on Monday, February 10 in the Stern Seminar Room (room 160), Mann Library. Books will be available for purchase and to be signed and light refreshments will be served. More information on the event can be found here.

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New Book: “The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making”

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news-neurobook-inpostThe newest book in the Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development is out this month from the American Psychological Association (APA). The work presented in The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making, edited by Valerie Reyna and Vivian Zayas, is drawn from presentations made at the Third Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference.

From the APA web site:

Whether the decision is to have unprotected sex, consent to surgery, spend rather than save for retirement, or have an extra piece of pie, risky decisions permeate our lives, sometimes with disastrous consequences. How and why risk taking occurs has important implications, yet many questions remain about how various factors influence decision-making.

Vivian Zayas and Valerie Reyna

Vivian Zayas and Valerie Reyna

This book advances basic understanding and scientific theory about the brain mechanisms underlying risky decision making, paving the way for translation of science into practice and policy. This compelling research topic crosses a number of disciplines, including social, cognitive, and affective (emotion) neuroscience psychology, brain sciences, law, behavioral economics, and addiction.

The book's chapter co-authors include Valerie Reyna, Vivian Zayas, Scott Huettel, Eveline Crone, Beatriz Luna, Brian Knutson, Walter Mischel, and Antione Bechara.

The book is the third in the APA's Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development, each volume in which results from research presented at a Biennial Bronfenbrenner Conference. The first two books in the series are:

news-chaosbook-inpost

Chaos and Its Influence on Children's Development: An Ecological Perspective, edited by Gary Evans and Theodore Wach

 

 

news-trbook-inpost-sm

Research for the Public Good: Applying Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well-being, edited by Elaine Wethington and Rachel Dunifon

 

 

 

Book debuts brain models of risky decision-making - Cornell Chronicle
Video from the Third Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference

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Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference

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New Developments in Aging, Emotion, and Health
October 3-4, 2013

Conference program

The conference aimed to close the gap between two burgeoning fields of research at the intersection of aging, emotion, and health. On the one hand, recent advances in affective science have documented systematic age differences in emotional processing, affective experience, and affect regulation. Although researchers are beginning to explore the neural, cognitive, and motivational mechanisms behind such effects, their contributions to later-life health and well-being are not fully understood. On the other hand, research on the psychobiology of health and disease has provided growing evidence for the role of psychosocial factors (e.g., mental health, positive and negative emotionality) in physical health. Specific pathways including biological and behavioral mechanisms are beginning to emerge, but their potential for yielding answers to developmental questions involving intraindividual variability and change has yet to be realized. To integrate these lines of inquiry, the conference convened leaders in the respective fields for two days of intense dialogue aimed at setting the stage for transformative future research.

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Video from the 2013 Bronfenbrenner Conference now online

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front row: Carstensen, Mather, Tsai, Ong, Loeckenhoff; back row: Mroczek, Riediger, Zautra, Kubzansky, Bonanno, Charles, Anderson, Urry.

front row: Carstensen, Mather, Tsai, Ong, Loeckenhoff; back row: Mroczek, Riediger, Zautra, Kubzansky, Bonanno, Charles, Anderson, Urry.

The Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference on New Developments in Aging, Emotion, and Health was held October 3-4, 2013 on Cornell campus. The event brought together national and international experts to examine the ways emotions change and impact health in new ways as people age. The conference was organized by Corinna Loeckenhoff, assistant professor, and  Anthony Ong, associate professor, both of the Department of Human Development.

The conference aimed to close the gap between two burgeoning fields of research at the intersection of aging, emotion, and health. On the one hand, recent advances in affective science have documented systematic age differences in emotional processing, affective experience, and affect regulation. Although researchers are beginning to explore the neural, cognitive, and motivational mechanisms behind such effects, their contributions to later-life health and well-being are not fully understood. On the other hand, research on the psychobiology of health and disease has provided growing evidence for the role of psychosocial factors (e.g., mental health, positive and negative emotionality) in physical health. Specific pathways including biological and behavioral mechanisms are beginning to emerge, but their potential for yielding answers to developmental questions involving intraindividual variability and change has yet to be realized. To integrate these lines of inquiry, the conference convened leaders in the respective fields for two days of intense dialogue aimed at setting the stage for transformative future research.

Adam K. Anderson

Adam K. Anderson

A book with chapters by the presenting academics will be published by the American Psychological Association as part of the Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development. Earlier volumes in this series, resulting from past Bronfenbrenner Conferences, are Chaos and Its Influence on Children's Development: An Ecological Perspective, Research for the Public Good: Applying Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well-being, and, upcoming from the 2011 Bronfenbrenner Conference, The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making.

Presentations at New Developments in Aging, Emotion, and Health were:

 

Conference program

Overview page of all videos from the conference

Experts explore roots of healthy aging - Cornell Chronicle

 

The Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference was sponsored by the Cornell University Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, the Cornell University Institute for the Social Sciences, the Scientific Research Network on Decision Neuroscience and Aging (R24-AG039350), the Cornell University Department of Human Development, Mrs. Constance F. Ferris, and Mrs. Liese Bronfenbrenner.

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New Book: “Research for the Public Good”

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Elaine Wethington and Rachel Dunifon at the 2009 Bronfenbrenner Conference

Co-edited by Elaine Wethington and Rachel Dunifon, Research for the Public Good: Applying the Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well-Being (American Psychological Association Books), is the second volume to be published from the Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference series.  The book represents work presented at the 2009 Bronfenbrenner Conference, Improving the State of Americans: Prospects of Translational Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and is available as of May 15, 2012.

From the Cornell Chronicle article on the book:

In recent years, Wethington said, translational research has been closely associated with medicine, where billions are spent annually to develop new treatments and interventions to combat sickness. But increasingly the National Institutes of Health and other major funding agencies are calling for social scientists to address issues relevant to human health and to collaborate with medical scientists to improve application of basic findings to communities.

“Translational research has gained prominence in biomedical research, where there’s an emphasis on speeding lab findings into practice,” she added. “It also goes back to the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner and his colleagues, however, who were ahead of their time with an ecological approach to human development that brought together research, policy and practice. This book defines the term in that context and provides practical insights for doing translational research.”

Video from the 2009 Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference can be viewed here.

The volume from the 2007 Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference is Chaos and Its Influence on Children's Development: An Ecological Perspective edited by Gary Evans and Theodore Wachs.

 

 

 

 

 

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2011 Bronfenbrenner Conference video now online

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Video has now been posted from the 2011 Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference, The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making.  All presentations, discussions, Q & A, and panel conversations are available in the Media Library.

The presenters are:

Antoine Bechara, University of Southern California
Eveline Crone, Leiden University
Paul Glimcher, New York University
Jay Giedd, National Institute of Mental Health
Scott Huettel, Duke University
Brian Knutson, Stanford University
Beatriz Luna, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Kevin Ochsner, Columbia University
Philip Zelazo, University of Minnesota

 

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Third Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference

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The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making
September 22-23, 2011

Download a copy of the conference agenda

How and why risk taking occurs remains a mystery that has important implications for law, medicine, economics, and public policy. Building on a recent surge of research on risky decision making across the life span, leading neuroeconomists, neuroscientists, and social scientists convened in Ithaca to present and discuss their latest findings, and to develop a framework for future research. Their work spans such topics as the changing impact of rewards and punishments at different ages, emotional regulation and self control, and individual differences in personality, among other social, cognitive, biological, and developmental factors that shape risky behavior.

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