School of Social and Family Dynamics




The Lives Enterprise provides the organizational and conceptual infrastructure for several interrelated initiatives, each of which consists of coordinated research and/or translational projects. Initiatives address three overarching themes of gender, peer relationships, and schooling. Within each initiative, teams of researchers, interventionists, teachers, community members, parents, and students work together to conduct research, develop programs, share ideas, and raise questions. Using cutting-edge science and theory combined with real world information and practices, we address important issues related to enhancing the lives of girls and boys.


The Sanford Harmony Program

The Sanford Harmony Program is the centerpiece of the Lives Enterprise. It is a bold effort that is designed to enhance communication and relationships among girls and boys. The major goal is to design, test, and widely disseminate a school-based program for use in preschool through elementary school that promotes positive classroom relationships among boys and girls.


Children's Attitudes, Relationships, and Education (CARE)

The CARE Project consists of a series of research studies with the goals of validating new measures of children’s attitudes about their relationships with boys and girls and assessing attitudes and their social and academic correlates at a range of ages from kindergarten through college.


Project Teach

The goal of Project Teach is to explore how classroom teachers from preschool through fifth grade structure and manage gender issues and peer interactions in the classroom. Projects within this initiative use an innovative observational method as well as survey methods.


Dynamics of Gender and Peer Interactions

In this innovative initiative, we use traditional and dynamical systems methods in several projects to explore the dynamics underlying same- and other-sex peer interactions in learning contexts and the dynamics of gendered perceptions.


Lives of Teens

The Lives of Teens Initiative is designed to explore romantic relationships in adolescence, the peer and familial correlates of these, and the connections with educational outcomes.


Mapping Social Relationships at School

Many of the Lives projects include collection of detailed observational and nomination data regarding children's relationships with peers. Using multilevel modeling, social network methods of studying large group dynamics, and novel approaches to mapping dyadic and triadic relationships developed by team members
(Q-Connectivity), one goal is to better understand the nature and quality of peer relationships.


The Kindergarten Project

The Kindergarten Project consists of a series of research studies designed to better understand how children make successful transitions into kindergarten. The studies include explorations of classroom composition, teacher training, and student outcomes.


Past Projects -

Understanding School Success (USS)

The USS project involved a 5-year longitudinal data collection designed to examine how young children's early classroom-based relationships influence school readiness and adjustment.


Project Intersect

Project Intersect involved a study of gender and ethnic identity and social networks in adolescents. The goal is to better understand how identity relates to academic and social adjustment.


Single-Sex Schooling

The main goal of the single-sex schooling initiative was to explore whether and how single-sex schooling impacts social and academic outcomes.


T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Social Sciences Building, 951 S Cady Mall | P.O. Box 873701, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701
Phone: (480) 965-6978 | Fax (480) 965-6779 | Contact Us newsblast