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Natalie D. Hengstebeck

Science and Technology Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

About Natalie

Hengstebeck's writings focus on how policies, systems, and contextual circumstances shape the well-being of children and families. Hengstebeck's approach emphasizes a holistic, multidimensional lens through which to think about the long-term impact of programs and policies on families; strategies that aim to build on strengths rather than simply minimizing problems; and ways of leveraging science to inform policymakers, practitioners, and the public about these issues. A former Fulbright Fellow in the Netherlands, Hengstebeck currently works with government, non-profit, and university partners to enhance the use of research in policymaking.

In the News

Natalie D. Hengstebeck quoted by Charlotte Huisman, "Voorkomt de gemeente straks uw echtscheiding?" deVolkskrant, April 27, 2016.


"Mexican Immigrant Family Life in a Pre-Emerging Southern Gateway Community," (with Heather M. Helms, Yuliana Rodriquez, Julia L. Mendez, and Danielle A. Crosby), The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, September 1, 2015.

Shares insights gleaned from the UNIDOS study of 120 couples with young children living in newly-formed immigrant communities across the state of North Carolina at the start of the Great Recession. Sheds additional light on the pressures that may impact Latino families in pre-emerging communities, why families raising children in these contexts may be facing risks associated with their environments, and how policies and programs might capitalize on families' strengths.

"Military Integration " (with Sarah O. Meadows, Beth Ann Griffin, Esther M. Friedman, and Robin Beckman), in The Deployment Life Study: Longitudinal Analysis of Military Families Across the Deployment Cycle, edited by Sarah O. Meadows, Terri Tanielian, and Benjamin Karney (RAND Corporation, 2016), 263-302.

Examines the military satisfaction, military commitment, retention intentions, and teen military career aspirations as reported by service members, spouses, and teens over the deployment cycle. Explains that although experiencing trauma during deployment was a risk factor for military integration, families demonstrated notable resilience over the deployment cycle, particularly when they regularly communicated with other military families.

"Family Policies" (with Heather M. Helms and Danielle A. Crosby), in The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Family Studies, edited by Connie L. Shehan (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), 748-753.

Defines family policy as a type of public and social policy aimed at promoting, protecting, and strengthening families across five domains of family functioning: family creation, partnership support, economic support, childrearing, and caregiving. Highlights that variation across political institutions, party leadership, religious traditions, public opinion, social organization, and attitudes about family diversity have resulted in divergent patterns of family policies. Compares family policy regimes and discuss the effectiveness of different approaches.

"Everyday Hassles and Family Relationships" (with Heather M. Helms and David H. Demo), in Families & Change: Coping with Stressful Events and Transitions, edited by Christine A. Price, Kevin R. Bush, and Sharon J. Price (SAGE Publishing, 2016), 27-49.

For family members struggling with uncertain economic times and working in low-wage jobs with inflexible schedules, everyday hassles such as minor car accidents, sick children, and parent-teacher conferences scheduled during work hours may add strains that are difficult for families to manage. Shows that government and employer policies that focus on the risks, vulnerabilities, and family lives of the workers are likely to minimize the transfer of stress related to everyday hassles to family relationships.