Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome your questions about the project. Send questions to the Project Manager and she or a project director will get back to you as soon as possible.

Q: How are you protecting my identity on this web site?

A: We have taken several steps to protect your confidentiality:

  • We do not store your name or contact information on this web site or web server.
  • When you use the Contact Information forms, the information is sent to the Project Manager in an email; it is not stored anywhere on our web server. This means that only the Project Manager can access this email information.
  • We do not use any names or images of any study members on our web site.
  • Study findings are reported in summary form, never in such a way that an individual or family could be identified.

Q: I need to reschedule my interview. How do I do this?

A: Please click here to contact the Project Manager, or call toll-free at 1-800-455-4250

Q: How can you interview a 2 year old child? What does the child do since s/he can't answer questions?

A: Parents of two year olds complete questionnaires, but the children themselves participate in play tasks. These tasks are a way for us to study and understand families, especially with very young children, and the interactions complement the information provided by questionnaires. When we're working with children, parents have told us that they are intrigued to see how their child reacts to the visit. Sometimes they are surprised, but however a child reacts to any of the play tasks is just fine. We want children to behave as they normally would.  

Q: Why do we have the videotaped part of the interview?

A: We appreciate everyone's participation in the video taped segment over the years because this is a very important aspect of the project. Sometimes there is an initial reluctance to be on camera, but that feeling usually goes away because participants talk about issues of real importance to them. The fact that we have videotaped hundreds of couples and families several times each over the years indicates how accepting people have been of this part of the interview. Completing only the questionnaires, of course, is valuable in its own right; however, doing both the questionnaires and the video tasks maximizes the benefits of the study in terms of both scientific knowledge and information that will help families in the future.

We've prepared a short video panel discussion involving members of the research staff, filmed in April of 2007. This 12 minute DVD is available for study participants who are interested in learning more about this component. Please contact the Project Manager if you would like a free copy of this segment.

Q: Who has access to the videotapes?

A: Confidentiality is among our top priorities, and we are very careful about security. Field Interviewers do not watch the discussion tasks. When these video data arrives at our office, it is separated from paperwork that contains names and addresses. From that point on, it is only identified by an ID number. Only authorized personnel have access to the data, and it is only viewed in secure rooms to which access is limited. If a staff member has personal knowledge of a study participant, the staff member becomes ineligible to work with that particular data. Although this hasn't happened often in the long history of the project, we take this aspect of confidentiality very seriously and work hard to ensure the privacy of our participants.     

Q: What kind of training do interviewers receive?

A: Our Interviewers are highly trained professionals. They attend two or more days of training in Ames, reviewing and learning interview protocols for each component of the study on which they work. Before they are allowed to contact family members, Interviewers must demonstrate that they understand interviewer techniques in theory and in practice and fully realize the tremendous responsibility they have as members of the research team who have direct contact with study participants. Our Interviewer staff is comprised of telephone Interviewers who work out of the CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) lab in Ames, as well as members of our Field Staff, which includes the Interviewers and Camerapersons who visit you in person. The Family Transitions Project is dedicated to providing the best possible experience in terms of your working relationship with employees representing the project.

Q: Will you ever interview the Siblings of Targets again?

A: We've heard this question a number of times over the years, and we are glad there are Sibling participants who would like to be involved again. One of our researchers, Kathi Conger, is particularly interested in sibling relationships and we are hopeful that funding agencies will support her research in this area of family life.

Q: How is the study paid for?

A: This study could not be possible without federal funding. All current funding is from agencies with the National Institute of Health, but over the life of the project we have been funded by the following agencies: the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, the Iowa Agriculture & Home Economics Experiment Station, the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Adolescent Development among Youth in High-Risk Settings, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Aging.