Jennifer L. Kerpelman, Ph.D.

Jennifer L. Kerpelman, Ph.D.

Professor & Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
Ph.D., Auburn University, 1994
(334) 844-3791 | 210 Spidle Hall

Research Projects:

Healthy Couples, Healthy Children: Targeting Youth Project and Beyond

Kerpelman, J. L. (PI), Adler-Baeder, F. (Co-PI), & Pittman, J. F.(Co-PI).

The impact of relationships/marriage education on ethnically-diverse, low resource youth: A short-term longitudinal study. Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Grant # DHHS-90OJ2017 ($974,347); September, 2005-September, 2010. Our 5-year evaluation project tested the effectiveness of the Relationship Smarts Plus curriculum (RS+; Pearson, 2004/2007) in “test” and “control” classrooms each year. The goals of this applied research study were to examine the effectiveness of a youth-focused relationships education curriculum, and to use the knowledge gained from this research to build an exemplary model of relationships education for teens. Additional funding for this project also has been received from the Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.

Results from the 5-year project showed that recipients of the classes improved their relationship knowledge and skills and engaged in less aggression within their dating relationships. Extensions to this project (2010-2011) were conducted in collaboration with the Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative and focused on relationship education for middle school youth. We also developed curriculum (ACES HE-0964) for parents designed to foster parent-teen communication about relationships. Although this project concluded in 2011, multiple datasets are available for conducting secondary analyses focusing on adolescent relationships, adolescent identity and self-development, adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors, adolescent dating violence attitudes and behaviors.