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Three Generation Project

About Us

The following study has concluded data collection and is no longer hiring. We hold a monthly writing group meeting for this project.

Adolescent parenthood has attracted national attention, and the Three Generation Project is examining how young mothers have transitioned to parenthood and how their children have transitioned to school. The goal of this project is to examine how patterns of family and personal resources identified during the first two years of parenting influence young mothers and their children at age 7.

181 first-time, adolescent mothers of healthy full-term infants were recruited following delivery in urban hospitals between 1997 and 1999. Half of the participants had a long-term intervention with a mentor over the first year of the infant’s life. The goal of the intervention was to promote adolescent and infant development, parenting, and family processes in three generations (mother, child, and grandmother of the child). We interviewed mothers, fathers, and grandmothers. The intervention was successful in delaying second births as well as promoting the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that over the first four to six months babies receive only breast milk or formula and not solid foods.

120 mothers and children (66% of the original sample) were successfully interviewed between June 2005 and May 2007. We are currently analyzing these data to identify factors that can be used to inform policy and practice to promote successful transitions to adulthood and school for young mothers and their children.

Project Coordinator


Principal Investigator
University of Maryland, School of Medicine 



Ambika Krishnakumar, PhD
Syracuse University

Margaret Bentley, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 


Buckingham-Howes, S., Oberlander, S. E., Hurley, K. M., Fitzmaurice, S., & Black, M. M. (2011). Trajectories of Adolescent Mother-Grandmother Psychological Conflict during Early Parenting and Children’s Problem Behaviors at Age 7. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40, 445-455.

Oberlander, S. E., Agostini, W. R. M., Houston, A. M., & Black, M. M. (2010). A seven-year investigation of marital expectations and marriage among urban, low-income, African American adolescent mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 31-40.

Ramos-Marcuse, F., Oberlander, S. E., Papas, M. A., McNary, S. W., Hurley, K. M., & Black, M. M. (2010). Stability of maternal depressive symptoms among urban, low-income African American adolescent mothers. Journal of Affective Disorders, 122, 68-75.

More Publications+

Papas, M. A., Hurley, K. M., Quigg, A. M., Oberlander, S. E., & Black, M. M. (2009). Low-income African American adolescent mothers and their toddlers exhibit similar dietary consumption patterns. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 41, 87-94.

Hurley, K. M., Oberlander, S. E., Merry, B. C., Wrobleski, M. M., Klassen, A. C., & Black, M. M. (2009). The Healthy Eating Index and the Youth Healthy Eating Index are unique, non-redundant measures of diet quality among low-income, African American adolescents. The Journal of Nutrition, 139, 359-364.

Oberlander, S. E., Shebl, F. M., Magder, L. S., & Black, M. M. (2009). Adolescent mothers leaving multigenerational households. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38, 62-74.

Oberlander, S. E., Black, M. M., & Starr, R. H., Jr. (2007). Mothers and grandmothers: An intergenerational approach to adolescent parenthood. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39, 37-46.

Black, M. M., Bentley, M. E., Papas, M. A., Oberlander, S., Teti, L. O., McNary, S., Le, K., & O'Connell, M. (2006). Delaying second births among adolescent mothers: A randomized controlled trial of a home-based mentoring program. Pediatrics, 118, 1087-1099.

Black, M. M., Papas, M. A., Bentley, M. E., Cureton, P., Saunders, A., Le, K., Anliker, J., & Robinson, N. (2006). Overweight adolescent African-American mothers gain weight in spite of intentions to lose weight. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106, 80-87.

Hess, C. R., Papas, M. A., & Black, M. M. (2004). Use of the Bayley Infant Neurodevelopmental Screener with an environmental risk group. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 29, 321-30.

Krishnakumar, A. & Black, M. M. (2003). Family processes within three-generation households and adolescent mothers' satisfaction with father involvement. Journal of Family Psychology, 17, 488-498.

Hess, C. R., Papas, M. A., & Black, M. M. (2002). Resilience among African American adolescent mothers: predictors of positive parenting in early infancy. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 619-629.

Gavin, L. E., Black, M. M., Minor, S., Abel, Y., Papas, M. A., & Bentley, M. E. (2002). Young, disadvantaged fathers' involvement with their infants: an ecological perspective. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 266-276.

Martinez, L. M., Black, M., & Starr, R. H. (2002). Factorial structure of the perceived neighborhood scale (PNS): A test of longitudinal invariance. Journal of Community Psychology, 30, 23-43.

Black, M. M., Siegel, E. H., Abel, Y., & Bentley, M. E. (2001). Home and videotape intervention delays early complementary feeding among adolescent mothers. Pediatrics, 107, E67.

Bentley, M., Gavin, L., Black, M. M., & Teti, L. (1999). Infant feeding practices of low-income, African-American, adolescent mothers: an ecological, multigenerational perspective. Social Science & Medicine, 49, 1085-1100.

Black, M. M. & Teti, L. O. (1997). Promoting mealtime communication between adolescent mothers and their infants through videotape. Pediatrics, 99, 432-437.