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
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.
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.
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.
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.