Picture of Robert Nix

Robert Nix

Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Integrated Specialist in Diverse and Underserved Children, Families, and Communities, UW-Extension
4138 Nancy Nicholas Hall
608-890-3283

If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.

Kurt Lewin (1890 – 1947)

 

My research focuses on the development and rigorous evaluation of prevention programs to promote adaptive social-emotional functioning and prevent the development of problems among children living in poverty. All of these programs are implemented in community settings. I have a special interest in prevention programs for preschool-aged children and their parents and have conducted several studies on the long-term impact of early services. Much of my research has focused on peering into the “black box” of prevention programs to understand better how they effectuate change. Such knowledge is critical to enhancing the quality of future prevention programs and improving the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Some of my current research projects include:

Promoting Self-Regulation Skills and Healthy Eating Habits in Early Head Start.

In this five-year grant, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, my colleagues and I are working with Early Head Start programs in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to improve (1) parents’ sensitive scaffolding of toddlers’ learning, (2) toddlers’ self-regulation skills, such as waiting patiently, and (3) healthy eating habits. The ultimate goal of this prevention program is to enhance school readiness and physical health among children living in poverty.

Head Start REDI (Research-Based, Developmentally-Informed)

In this grant, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, my colleagues and I sought to improve the efficacy of Head Start by integrating emergent literacy and social-emotional learning curricula during the pre-kindergarten year. The children are now in high school, and we are investigating whether early intervention had a lasting impact on academic success and interpersonal well-being.

Family Living Programs, University of Wisconsin-Extension

In my role as an Integrated Extension Specialist, I work with University of Wisconsin-Extension Educators to assist diverse and underserved children, families, and communities across the state. I help to (1) identify evidence-based interventions to fill service gaps, (2) refine and improve the quality of current programming, (3) enhance the caliber of evaluations, and (4) create new interventions and test their effectiveness.

 

Evidence-Based Prevention and Intervention Programs

Program Evaluation

Research Methods

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Nix, R. L., Bierman, K. B., Heinrichs, B. S., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., & Domitrovich, C. E. (in press). The randomized-controlled trial of Head Start REDI: Sustained effects on developmental trajectories of social-emotional functioning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Nix, R. L., Bierman, K. B., Heinrichs, B. S., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., & Domitrovich, C. E. (in press). The randomized-controlled trial of Head Start REDI: Sustained effects on developmental trajectories of social-emotional functioning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Bierman, K. B. Welsh, J. W, Heinrichs, B. S., Nix, R. L., & Mathis, E. T. (in press). Helping Head Start parents promote their children’s kindergarten adjustment: The REDI parent program. Child Development.

Lippold, M. A., Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., Nix, R. L., & Greenberg, M. T. (in press). Understanding how mindful parenting may be linked to mother-adolescent communication. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L. G., Nix, R. L., Greenberg, M. T., Bamberger, K. T., Gayles, J. G., Berena, E., & Demi, M. A. (2015). Integrating mindfulness with parent training: The Mindfulness-enhanced Strengthening Families Program. Developmental Psychology, 51, 26-35.

Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L. G., Berrena, E., Bamberger, K. T., Loeschinger, D. C., Greenberg, T., & Nix, R. L. (2014). The Mindfulness-Enhanced Strengthening Families Program: Integrating brief mindfulness activities and parent training within an evidence-based prevention program. New Directions for Youth Development, 142, 45-58.

Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., Heinrichs, B. S., Domitrovich, C. E., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., & Gill, S. (2014). Effects of Head Start REDI on children’s outcomes one year later in different kindergarten contexts. Child Development, 85, 140 – 159.

Nix, R. L., Bierman, K. L., Domitrovich, C. E., & Gill, S. (2013). Promoting children’s social-emotional skills in preschool can enhance academic and behavioral functioning in kindergarten: Findings from Head Start REDI. Early Education and Development, 24, 1000 – 1019.

Halgunseth, L. C., Perkins, D. F., Lippold, M. A., & Nix, R. L. (2013). Delinquent-oriented attitudes mediate the relation between parental inconsistent discipline and early adolescent behavior. Journal of Family Psychology, 27, 293 – 302.

McGowen, H., Nix, R. L., Murphy, S. A., Bierman, K. L., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2010). Investigating the effects of selection bias in dose-response analyses of preventive interventions. Prevention Science, 11, 239 – 251.

Lanza, S. T., Rhoades, B., Nix, R. L., Greenberg, M. T., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2010). Modeling the interplay of multilevel risk factors for future academic and behavior problems: A person-centered approach. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 313 – 335.

Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L. G., Greenberg, M. T., & Nix, R. L. (2010). Changing parents’ mindfulness, child management skills, and relationship quality with their youth: Results from a randomized pilot intervention trial. Journal of Child and Family Studies,19, 203 – 217.

Welsh, J. A., Nix, R. L., Blair, C., Bierman, K. B., & Nelson, K. E. (2010). The development of executive function and gains in academic school readiness for children from low-income families. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102, 43 – 53.

Nix, R. L., Bierman, K. L., McMahon, R. J., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2009). How attendance and quality of participation affect treatment response to parent behavior management training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology77, 429 – 438.

Schofield, H. T., Bierman, K. L., Heinrichs, B., Nix, R. L., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2008). Predicting early sexual activity with behavior problems exhibited at school entry and in preadolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology36, 1175 – 1188.

Bierman, K. L., Domitrovich, C. E., Nix, R. L., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., Greenberg, M. T., Blair, C., Nelson, K. E., & Gill, S. (2008). Promoting academic and social-emotional school  readiness: The Head Start REDI program. Child Development, 79, 1802 – 1817.

Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., Greenberg, M. T., Blair, C., & Domitrovich, C. E. (2008). Executive functions and school readiness intervention: Impact, moderation, and mediation in the Head Start-REDI program. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 821 – 843.

Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., Maples, J. J., Murphy, S. A., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2006). Examining clinical judgment in an adaptive intervention design: The Fast Track Program. Journal of Counseling and Consulting Psychology,74, 468 – 481.

Scholer, S. J., Nix, R. L., & Patterson, B. (2006).  Gaps in pediatricians’ advice to parents regarding early childhood aggression. Clinical Pediatrics, 45, 23 – 28.

Nix, R. L., Pinderhughes, E. E., Bierman, K. L., Maples, J. J., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2005). Decoupling the relation between risk factors for conduct problems and the receipt of intervention services.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 307 – 325.

Lavallee, K. L, Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2005). The impact of first-grade “friendship group” experiences on children’s social outcomes in the Fast Track Program. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 307 – 324.

Azar, S. T., Nix, R. L., & Makin-Byrd, K. T. (2005). Parenting schemas and the process of change.  Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31, 45 – 58.

Nix, R. L. (2003). Preschool intervention programs and the process of changing children’s lives: Commentary. Prevention and Treatment, 6, Article 33.  Available on the World Wide Web: http://journals.apa.org/prevention/volume6/pre0060033c.html.

Jones, D. E., Dodge, K. A., Foster, E. M., Nix, R. & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2002). Early identification of children at risk for costly mental health service use. Prevention Science, 3, 247 – 256.

Pinderhughes, E. E., Nix, R. L., Foster, E. M., Jones, D., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2001). Parenting in context:  Impact of neighborhood poverty, residential stability, public services, social networks, and danger on parental behaviors. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 941 – 953.

Nix, R. L., Pinderhughes, E. E., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., & McFadyen-Ketchum, S. A. (1999). The relation between mothers’ hostile attribution tendencies and children’s externalizing behavior problems: The mediating role of mothers’ harsh discipline practices. Child Development, 70, 896 – 909.

 

Edited Book Chapters

Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., Domitrovich, C. E., Welsh, J. A., & Gest, S. D. (2014). The Head Start REDI Project and school readiness. In A. J. Reynolds, A. J. Rolnick, & J. A. Temple (Eds.), Health and education in early childhood: Predictors, interventions, and policies (pp. 208 – 233). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Bierman, K. L., Domitrovich, C. E., Nix, R. L., Welsh, J. A., & Gest, S. D. (2014). Integrating evidence-based preschool programs to support social-emotional and cognitive development. In M. Boivin & K. L. Bierman (Eds.), Promoting school readiness and  early learning: Implications of developmental research for practice (pp. 231 – 252). New York: Guilford.

Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., DuPuis, D., & Nix, R. L. (2013). Social and biological changes during adolescence that precipitate the onset of antisocial behavior. In W. T. O’Donohue, L. T.    Benuto, & L. Woodward Tolle (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent health psychology (pp. 447 – 462). New York: Springer.

Domitrovich, C. E., Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., Gill, S., & Gest, S. D. (2012). Improving preschool education with curriculum enhancements and professional development: The Head Start REDI intervention model. In C. Howes, B. K. Hamre, & R. C. Pianta (Eds.), Effective early childhood professional development: Improving teacher practice and child outcomes (pp. 61 – 87). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., & Makin-Byrd, K. T. (2008). Using family-focused interventions to promote child behavioral readiness for school.  In A. Booth & A. C. Crouter (Eds.), Disparities in school readiness: How families contribute to transitions into school (pp. 283 – 297). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.