University of ArizonaNorton School of Family and Consumer Sciences


Jennifer A. Mortensen

Academic Program: 
Family Studies and Human Development
Degrees: 
B.S. Early Childhood Education; M.S. Human Development and Family Studies, University of Nevada, Reno
Hometown: 
Reno, Nevada

My primary area of focus is the development of healthy socioemotional outcomes during infancy and early childhood for children who live in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.  I am interested in how parent-child interactions and other family processes facilitate the socioemotional skills young children need to be successful in preschool and kindergarten.  Working as an infant-toddler teacher at Early Head Start has also motivated my interest in studying the quality of teacher-child interactions within center-based early education settings, and how these interactions facilitate socioemotional growth over time, especially for children facing harsh, dysfunctional parenting experiences at home.  More broadly, I am also interested in the role of early education programs in enhancing parent-child interactions and building connections with other social service agencies that support child welfare and family wellbeing.  

 

Minor: 
Infant Mental Health
Recent Accomplishments: 

Doris Duke Dissertation Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being: 

Funding awarded from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago to support dissertation research for two years. 

Project title: The Protective Role of the Caregiving Relationship in Child Care for Infants and Toddlers from High Risk Families

The goal of this dissertation is to provide theoretical and empirical evidence that caregiving experiences in child care promote children’s emotion regulation and serve as a protective factor for infants and toddlers experiencing negative parenting behaviors, high rates of physical and verbal punishment, and dysfunctional parent-child interactions at home. Additionally, this dissertation will explore children’s differential susceptibility to home and child care caregiving experiences. Secondary data analyses will be conducted with the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSRE), a longitudinal evaluation of EHS participating and EHS eligible families. The present analyses will be conducted with the subsample of families who participated in center-based child care, utilizing longitudinal data from 14-month, 24-month, 36-month (child age) time points.

Chapin Hall profile: http://www.chapinhall.org/fellowships/fellows/jennifer-mortensen 

 

Current Projects: 

Mortensen, J. A., & Mastergeorge, A. M. A meta-analytic review of relationship-based parenting interventions for high-risk families: Facilitating supportive parent-child interactions.  

Mortensen, J. A., & Barnett, M. A. Risk and protective factors, parenting stress, and harsh parenting in Mexican origin mothers with toddlers.  

Mortensen, J. A., & Barnett, M. A. Teacher-child relationships in child care and young children’s self-regulatory and socioemotional development. 

Mortensen, J. A., & Barnett, M. A. Mexican mothers’ perceptions of neighborhood danger.  

Paschall, K., Gonzalez, H. & Mortensen, J. A., Barnett, M. A., & Mastergeorge, A. M.  Socioemotional development of Early Head Start children in pre-kindergarten: Child sex and negative emotionality as moderators of parenting profiles and children’s classroom adjustment.  

 

Scholarly Publications:

Barnett, M.A., Mortensen, J.A., Tilley, E. & Gonzalez, H.  (2013).  Global and parenting specific social support as protective factors for the wellbeing of Mexican American mothers of toddlers.  Family Science.

Mortensen, J. A., & Burnham, M. M. (2012). Preschool children’s understanding of the graphic features of writing. Child Studies in Diverse Contexts, 2(1), 45-60.

Reisig, J. A., & Miller, M. K. (2009). How the social construction of “child abuse” affects immigrant parents: Policy changes that protect children and families. International Journal of Social Inquiry, 2, 17-37. 

 

Conference Presentations:

Paper Presentations

Mortensen, J. A., & Barnett, M. A. (upcoming). Mexican mothers’ perceptions of neighborhood danger: Pathways of risk.  Paper submitted for presentation at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, San Antonio, TX, November 2013.

Barnett, M. A., Mortensen, J. A., & Gonzalez, H. (2013). Grandmother involvement, psychological distress and parenting in Mexican origin families.  Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Honolulu, HI, July 2013.

Barnett, M. A., Mortensen, J. A., & Gonzalez, H. (2013). Resilience Among Low-Income and Ethnic Minority Mothers: The Roles of Self-Regulation, Beliefs, and Cognitive Functioning.  Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Research on Child Development, Seattle, WA, April 2013.

Mortensen, J.A., Barnett, M.A., & Calcagni, J. (2012). The role of family relationships in reducing parenting stress and negative parenting behaviors in Mexican American mothers of toddlers.  Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Phoenix, AZ, October 2012.

Barnett, M. A., Mortensen, J. A., Gonzalez, H. & Tilley, E.  (2012). Grandparent involvement in Mexican American families with toddlers.  Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Phoenix, AZ, October 2012.

Barnett, M. A., Mortensen, J. A., & Tilley, E. (2011). Social support as a resource for Mexican-American mothers of toddlers.  Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, FL., November, 2011. 

Poster Presentations

Mortensen, J. A., & Barnett, M. A. (2013). Caregiving experiences in child care: Global and individual measures of teacher-child interactions.  Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Honolulu, HI, July 2013.

Mortensen, J.A. & Mastergeorge, A.M. (2013).  A meta-analytic review of relationship-based interventions for high-risk families: Changing positive parent-child interactions. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Research on Child Development, Seattle, WA, April 2013.

Paschall, K., Gonzalez, H., Mortensen, J.A., Mastergeorge, A.M., Barnett, M.B. (2013). Predicting pre-kindergarten social competence and emotion regulation from maternal interaction styles at 36 months. Poster submitted to the Annual Conference of the Society for Research on Child Development, Seattle, WA, April 2013.

Gonzalez, H., Paschall, K., Mortensen, J. A., Barnett, M. A., & Mastergeorge, A. M. (2013). Parenting practices: Contextual correlates of parenting styles among low-income mothers. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Research on Child Development, Seattle, WA, April 2013. 

Mortensen, J. A., & Mastergeorge, A. M. (2012). A meta-analytic review of relationship-based parenting interventions. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Phoenix, AZ, October 2012.

Mortensen, J. A., Calcagni, J., & Barnett, M. A. (2012). Mexican-American mothers’ romantic relationship quality and toddlers’ social competence and behavior problems: The role of nurturing parenting and child gender. Poster presented at Head Start’s National Research Conference, Washington DC. June 2012.

Mortensen, J. A., & Barnett, M. A. (2012). Contextual instability and the influence of parenting behaviors on the developmental outcomes of Mexican-American toddlers.  Poster presented at Head Start’s National Research Conference, Washington DC. June 2012.

Mortensen, J. A., & Barnett, M. A. (2011). Contextual instability and the parenting of Mexican Mothers with toddlers.  Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, FL., November, 2011. 



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