California Families Project (CFP)
What is the California Families Project (CFP)?
  • In 2006, UC Davis, in collaboration with the Sacramento and Woodland Unified School Districts, embarked on a major study of 674 Mexican origin fifth-grade children and their parents living in Sacramento and Woodland, California.
  • The purpose of the study is to examine family, school, community, and individual characteristics that promote the child’s academic and social competence and reduce emotional and behavioral problems during childhood and adolescence.
  • The study also examines the impact of economic disadvantage in families and neighborhoods by examining processes both within and outside of the family that promote positive youth development in the face of hardship.
  • The research investigates unique cultural beliefs, values, and traditions in the Mexican-American community that affect a child’s development, and how these traditions might promote academic and social competence and reduce risk for drug use and other mental health problems.
  • The study includes families with a diverse range of incomes, education levels, and family structures, including two-parent and single-parent families.
  • The study has been funded by the federal government through 2023, allowing us to follow the CFP youth as they transition into young adult roles, such as entering the workforce and becoming a parent.
  • Finally, the project has recently expanded its focus to include the health and well-being of the CFP Moms and Dads; this aspect of the project will examine how the CFP parents maintain their cognitive functioning and mental health as they grow older.
Why is this project important?
  • The CFP is the first comprehensive, long-term longitudinal study of Mexican-origin children and their families.
  • We focus on Mexican-origin children because Latinos (two-thirds of whom are of Mexican origin) are the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority group in the United States.
  • Like many Mexican-origin children, the CFP youth face socioeconomic challenges including poverty (40%), unemployment (20%), and low educational attainment (avg. parent education = 9th grade).
  • Consequently, the CFP youth are at high risk for school dropout, emotional and behavioral problems, and long-term problems involving low-wage employment.
  • However, many Mexican-origin youth escape these risks, and the primary goal of the CFP is to identify the factors that promote success in this population.
  • New information about successful development among Mexican-origin youth will be used to design more effective community and school-based programs to promote the well-being of Mexican origin families and children.
Who funds this project?
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  • William T. Grant Foundation
  • UC Davis
Key Personnel
  • Project Director: Dr. Richard W. Robins
  • CFP Parent Grants (NIDA/NIAAA)
    • Richard W. Robins (PI), Dr. Rand D. Conger (PI), Dr. Emilio Ferrer (Co-I)
  • Neurobiological Bases of Depression in Mexican-Origin Youth (NIMH)
    • Amanda Guyer (PI), Dr. Paul Hastings (PI), Dr. Richard W. Robins (Co-I), Dr. Rand D. Conger (Co-I), Dr. Emilio Ferrer (Co-I)
  • Individual, Family, and Cultural Factors Associated with Obesity (NICHD)
    • Angelina Sutin (PI), Dr. Richard W. Robins (Co-I), Dr. Emilio Ferrer (Co-I)
  • Development of Self-Regulation in Mexican-origin Children (NICHD)
    • Leah Hibel (PI), Dr. Richard W. Robins (Co-I), Dr. Daniel Choe (Co-I), Dr. Wiebke Bleidorn (Co-I), Dr. Rand D. Conger (Co-I)
  • Psychosocial Risk Factors for Cognitive Decline in Mexican-origin Adults (NIA)
    • Richard W. Robins (PI), Dr. Angelina Sutin (PI), Emilio Ferrer (Co-I)
Project Collaborators

Dr. Alazne Aizpitarte, Dr. Brian Armenta, Dr. Mayra Y. Bamaca-Colbert, Dr. Veronica Benet-Martinez, Dr. Wiebke Bleidorn, Dr. Joanne Chung, Dr. David Clark, Dr. Rick Cruz, Dr. Rodica Damian, Dr. Brent Donnellan , Dr. Maciel Hernandez, Dr. Monica Martin, Dr. April Maserik, Dr. Ulrich Orth, Dr. Eva Pomerantz; Dr. Brent Roberts, Dr. Johnna Schwartz, Dr. Gabriela Stein, Dr. Zoe E. Taylor, Dr. Eunike Wetzel

For a list of California Families Project publications, please click here.

Berkeley Longitudinal Study (BLS)

The Berkeley Longitudinal Study (BLS) is a 23-year longitudinal study of 508 undergraduate students who entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. The BLS focuses on various aspects of the college experience (e.g., academic achievement, interests, goals, and motives), with an emphasis on factors that contribute to the development of personality and self-esteem. Participants were assessed six times while attending college: during their first week on campus, at the end of the first semester, and then at the end of Years 1, 2, 3, and 4. The sample was subsequently assessed for a seventh time approximately 20 years later (around 2015), when the participants were about 41 years old (N = 248). The 20-year follow-up includes a wider range of variables, including measures of work and family experiences and outcomes. Most of the data are self-report, but there are a number of variables (e.g., SAT scores, high school GPA, cumulative college GPA, attrition) obtained from university records as well as peer ratings of behavior and performance in a group interaction task. The NEO-FFI, a measure of the Big Five personality domains, was administered at the very beginning of college, at the end of the fourth year of college, and again in the 20-year follow-up.