Howard J. Markman, PhD is a professor of psychology and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver . His groundbreaking longitudinal research on the prediction and prevention of relationship discord and divorce has produced over 135 journal articles, books, and papers. With Scott Stanley, he developed the PREP program (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program), and is working with Dr. Stanley and associates on the adaptations of PREP for couples and individuals with low income. Dr. Markman is the leading marital researcher and marriage educator in the country and is an APA Fellow and recipient of the Distinguished Service Research Award from Smart Marriages in 2001. Markman, Stanley, and colleagues have conducted numerous state-of-the-art marriage education evaluation studies of PREP, including current projects involving religious organizations and the U.S. Army.
Martha Wadsworth, PhD is one of the top experts in the country in working with families with economic disadvantages. She has a special interest in stress and coping with poverty-related stress. She has recently completed a longitudinal study of families coping with poverty-related stress in the Denver metro area (Wadsworth et al., in press), and has published numerous studies on the links between poverty and developmental psychopathology (e.g., Wadsworth & Achenbach, 2005). Another area of expertise directly related to the current project is her focus on cultural diversity and the strengths and resources that indigenous cultures bring to the coping table. Her team has found that cultural/ethnic identity is related to how ethnic minority teens cope with stress, and that identity and coping both constitute distinct yet related parts of the adaptation process for such youths (Wadsworth, Rieckmann et al., 2004; Rieckmann, Wadsworth, & Dehyle; 2004). In Dr. Wadsworth's current NSF-funded project examining stress and coping in evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, she examines the intersection of race and class in the adaptation to disaster. Through this project, Dr. Wadsworth has continued to expand her role in the community by serving on the Hurricane Assistance Network of Denver and the Colorado State Prevention Workgroup.
The current project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The ACF is responsible for federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. ACF programs aim to achieve the following:
- families and individuals empowered to increase their own economic independence and productivity;
- strong, healthy, supportive communities that have a positive impact on the quality of life and the development of children;
- partnerships with individuals, front-line service providers, communities, American Indian tribes, Native communities, states, and Congress that enable solutions which transcend traditional agency boundaries;
- services planned, reformed, and integrated to improve needed access;
- and a strong commitment to working with people with developmental disabilities, refugees, and migrants to address their needs, strengths, and abilities.
The current grant is part of the Healthy Marriage Initiative, which aims to help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage and relationship. More information on the ACF can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/.