This research builds on the progress of a small grant and uses the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) to investigate the long-range effects of non-normative parenting. Parents who have either a child with a developmental disability (DD) or schizophrenia, or who have experienced the death of a child, will be compared with respect to the parents' attainment and well-being as they transition from midlife to the early retirement years. Using a new set of screening measures, parents in these groups will be identified in the WLS cohort. Affected WLS parents will be compared with unaffected parents, controlling for differences among the parent groups before the non-normative parenting event took place. The analyses will include within- group assessments of heterogeneity among WLS parents who experienced a non-normative parenting challenge, cross-sectional group comparisons at various points in the life course, and longitudinal analyses of the effects of non-normative parenting experiences on life course trajectories and outcomes. The research questions will (1) investigate how the life course in educational, occupational, marital, and childbearing domains diverges when parents have long-term caregiving responsibilities for a child with DD or schizophrenia, or when they experience the death of a child, (2) contrast the resources and well-being of four groups of parents (those who have a child with DD, schizophrenia, experience the death of a child, and a normative comparison group), (3) examine how divergent life course trajectories and unmet aspirations affect the parents' well- being, (4) analyze the extent to which social and psychological resources moderate parental adaptation during midlife and the early retirement years, and (5) investigate the effects of newly- experienced non-normative parenting events between midlife and the early retirement years. This research integrates the life course perspective with models of process and change from the stress and coping framework to understand life-long patterns of adaptation associated with non-normative parenting experiences. The WLS provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the effects of non-normative parenting for a sample that was recruited before the events occurred, and is thus less vulnerable to the self-selection biases that constrained previous research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Biobehavioral and Behavioral Processes 3 (BBBP)
Program Officer
Stahl, Sidney M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Wisconsin Madison
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
Zip Code
Floyd, Frank J; Mailick Seltzer, Marsha; Greenberg, Jan S et al. (2013) Parental bereavement during mid-to-later life: pre- to postbereavement functioning and intrapersonal resources for coping. Psychol Aging 28:402-13
Ghosh, Subharati; Greenberg, Jan S; Seltzer, Marsha Mailick (2012) Adaptation to a spouse's disability by parents of adult children with mental illness or developmental disability. Psychiatr Serv 63:1118-24
Seltzer, Marsha Mailick; Floyd, Frank; Song, Jieun et al. (2011) Midlife and aging parents of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: impacts of lifelong parenting. Am J Intellect Dev Disabil 116:479-99
Aschbrenner, Kelly A; Greenberg, Jan S; Allen, Susan M et al. (2010) Subjective burden and personal gains among older parents of adults with serious mental illness. Psychiatr Serv 61:605-11
Taylor, Julie Lounds; Hurd, Heather Doescher; Seltzer, Marsha Mailick et al. (2010) Parenting with mild intellectual deficits: parental expectations and the educational attainment of their children. Am J Intellect Dev Disabil 115:340-54
Ghosh, Subharati; Greenberg, Jan (2009) Aging fathers of adult children with schizophrenia: the toll of caregiving on their mental and physical health. Psychiatr Serv 60:982-4
Taylor, Julie Lounds (2009) Midlife Impacts of Adolescent Parenthood. J Fam Issues 30:484-510
Seltzer, Marsha Mailick; Floyd, Frank J; Greenberg, Jan S et al. (2009) Factors predictive of midlife occupational attainment and psychological functioning in adults with mild intellectual deficits. Am J Intellect Dev Disabil 114:128-43
Aschbrenner, Kelly A; Greenberg, Jan S; Seltzer, Marsha M (2009) Parenting an adult child with bipolar disorder in later life. J Nerv Ment Dis 197:298-304
Taylor, Julie Lounds; Greenberg, Jan S; Seltzer, Marsha Mailick et al. (2008) Siblings of adults with mild intellectual deficits or mental illness: differential life course outcomes. J Fam Psychol 22:905-14

Showing the most recent 10 out of 14 publications