Project FLIGHT

Families Learning, Interacting, and Growing Healthy Together

Principal Investigators

  • Melissa Sturge-Apple, Ph.D.
  • Patrick Davies, Ph.D.


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Project Summary

Project FLIGHT is a multi-method study focused on identifying how conflict between parents influences their interactions with each other and with their child. The project aims to examine the effects of interparental conflict and its potential spillover to the parent-child subsystem. The project will follow 250 families with a three-year-old child over the course of a three-year period, in hopes of better understanding the impact of interparental conflict on parenting styles. Using self-reports, interparental problem-solving tasks, parent-child interaction tasks, and neurobiological assessments, Project FLIGHT plans to:

  • Examine whether parents’ neurobiological responses to stress impacts parent-child interactions.
  • Identify how aspects of interparental conflict may serve as an explanation for spillover to the parent-child relationship.
  • Explore how parents handle conflict among themselves, and how they interact with their child as a result of potential spillover.

The primary goal of our research is to determine how and why interparental conflict affects parenting skills, thus ultimately influencing the parent-child system. Understanding why this happens may lead to new interventions for helping families who experience these problems.

Press Release


Why does stress in relationships affect parenting?