Merrill Hall, home of the Parenting Relationships Research Lab

Current Projects

The Parenting Relationships Research Lab is involved in several ongoing projects. Please keep reading for more information about these programs.

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Kids First Collaboration
Our partnership with KidsFirst, an agency in Scarborough, Maine focused on providing support for families experiencing divorce and separation is an important and substantial project. Kids First provides a variety of programs that teach parents how to work together effectively in the best interest of their children. The lab provides support for program evaluation and measuring the success of the programs the agency offers. The lab is also working on investigating KidsFirst’s base program to provide a research-backed curriculum. In addition, the lab is collaborating on the development of an app to improve access between the agency and their clients as well as developing initiatives to acquire additional funding.

The Intersection of Ambitious Women & Parenting Project

This study explores the relationship between hard-working, career-driven women and their experience being mothers. There is an emphasis on the decision-making process regarding children and how having children may have affected mothers’ career trajectories. To what extent, if any, do mothers experience regret after having children? If so, how has that regret been shaped by the impact of having a child on their career trajectories? The study aims to better understand the motivations behind ambitious women becoming parents and how raising children has affected their careers. 

This project is currently ongoing, and we are looking for participants. Click here to read the qualifications and fill out an initial screening survey. 

Members Involved: Undergraduate Research Assistant Paige Allen & Advisor Dr. Daniel Puhlman

The Understanding Parents Project
This qualitative project is looking at the how parents experience gatekeeping behaviors from their partners and what their beliefs are about the impact of gatekeeping on their coparental relationship. We are currently recruiting participants and if you are parent of a child under 11 years old, please visit our Get Involved page to be part of this project.

Co-Exist is an app-based therapy program designed to help co-parents in high-conflict relationships. Geared towards supporting Maine parents, legal professionals, and parent education programs, the idea for the app was conceived by UMaine alumna Emma Richardson ’20 when she was a research assistant in the lab. The project was a finalist in the Top Gun accelerator program Statewide Showcase, and was featured on the statewide television program Greenlight Maine College Edition.

 A Qualitative Understanding of the Perspectives of Professionals who Refer Parents to Intervention Programs
This qualitative project is focused on professionals who work with high conflict coparents. We are looking to understand how professionals such as lawyers, judges, mediators, guardian ad litems and counselors work with this population and what supports they believe that this population needs.

Coparenting & Schools

Early Intervention and Coparenting

International Boarding Students

Qualitative Gatekeeping Study

Politics & Relationships Study

Video Game Project

Past Projects & Publications

Puhlman, D., Shigeto, A., Murillo-Borjas, G. A., Maurya, R. K., & Vincenti, V. B. (2023). Qualitative genogram analysis: A methodology for theorizing family dynamicsJournal of Family Theory & Review1– 16

Petren, R. E., & Puhlman, D. J. (2021). Routines and coparenting as interrelated family management systemsJournal of Family Theory & Review132), 164– 180

Puhlman, D.J. and Pasley, K. (2017), The Maternal Gatekeeping Scale: Constructing a Measure. Fam Relat, 66: 824-838.

Puhlman, D.J. and Pasley, K. (2013), Rethinking Maternal Gatekeeping. J Fam Theory Rev, 5: 176-193.