Barnett Research Lab

Melissa Barnett Research Lab

Our Mission

We study how the quality of relationships, including parenting, coparenting, grandparenting and teacher-child impact early childhood development.  We consider family relationships and child development in a variety of contexts such as economic disadvantage, culture, neighborhoods, interparental relationships, intergenerational relationships and early care and education settings. Across our research projects, we focus on identifying family or contextual assets among families at risk for compromised relationships and caregiver and child wellbeing.

Connect with the researcher

Melissa Barnett, Ph.D.

Professor, Human Development and Family Science

Norton Endowed Chair in Fathers, Parenting and Families

Director, Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth & Families

Current Projects

Typologies of Family Partnerships in Head Start: Links to Children’s School Readiness

This secondary data analysis project, which focuses on the ways families and teachers work together to impact the school readiness of children attending Head Start, was funded by the Administration for Children and Families.Collaborators include Katherine Paschall (Child Trends) and Ann Mastergeorge (Texas Tech University).

Independent and Interactive Links between Individual and Classroom-level Teacher-Child Relationship Quality and Children’s Academic School Readiness Skills

This secondary data analysis project, which focuses on teacher-child relationships and interactions in Head Start classrooms, was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Collaborators include Katherine Paschall (Child Trends) and Ann Mastergeorge (Texas Tech University).

Family Relationships and Child Development Among Low-Income, Unmarried Families

We are currently engaged in a series of projects related to a secondary data analysis grant focusing on the transition to parenthood for predominantly low-income, unmarried couples. The focus of these projects include fathers' parenting, understanding how family and contextual factors influence young children's development, and examination of how the quality of multiple family relationships (e.g., parenting, coparenting, parental romantic relationships) jointly impact adult and child wellbeing. Collaborators include Melissa Curran (Human Development and Family Science, UA) and current and former graduate students.

Grandparenting In the 21st Century 

The goal of this project is to understand the experiences and wellbeing of grandparents who are highly involved in raising their grandchildren. Collaborators are Loriena Yancura (University of Hawaii) and Danielle Nadorff (Mississippi State University).

Find Dr. Barnett’s publications at Research Gate or Google Scholar.

Find Student Presentations at National Conferences.

Melissa A. Barnett, Ph.D. | Associate Professor, Family Studies & Human Development

Maria Belinda VasquezMS | Graduate Research Assistant

Victoria Cooper | Graduate Research Assistant

Priscilla Zambrano, MS | Graduate Research Assistant

Each semester the lab includes a talented team of undergraduate research assistants.