Headshot of Mark E.  Feinberg

Mark E. Feinberg

Research Professor

314 Biobehavioral Health Building
814-865-7375
MFeinberg@psu.edu
Pronouns: he/him

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Introduction & Projects

"Every child deserves a strong, supportive, healthy family!"

Mark Feinberg

Mark Feinberg conducts basic and applied prevention research on youth, families, and communities, with a particular focus on family-focused prevention. He has made contributions to theory and research in areas such as:

  • co-parenting;
  • sibling relationships;
  • the epidemiology of adolescent behavior problems;
  • the efficacy of evidence-based community prevention initiatives; and
  • transactions between family and social relationships and biological systems including genetics, cortisol/HPA axis, and cardiovascular disease markers.

His long-standing interest in community health has led him to lead or participate in evaluations of community-level systems designed to promote evidence-based prevention programs and policies including Communities That Care, Evidence2Success, and PROSPER. In the long-term PROSPER randomized trial, he has catalyzed and/or co-led projects on adolescent peer networks, genetics, and second-generation transmission.

Mark edited Designing evidence-based public health and prevention programs: Expert program developers explain the science and art, a unique volume that provides researchers and students with guidance around developing prevention and public health programs. He is currently co-editing a volume showcasing 10 years of work by the PROSPER peer network research group titled Teen Friendship Networks, Development, and Risky Behaviors.  

Mark developed the Family Foundations program and co-developed prevention programs focused on reducing adverse birth outcomes, childhood obesity, and sibling conflict—all of which have demonstrated positive impacts in randomized trials.

Family Foundations

Family Foundations is a series of 9 classes for first-time pregnant moms and their partners. It is based on the innovative idea that a key foundation for all family relationships, including the well-being of both children and parents, is the quality of co-parenting relations (i.e., how parents support and coordinate with each other in their parenting role).

Family Foundations has demonstrated positive impacts on a range of outcomes in five trials, including:

  • better birth outcomes
  • reduced postpartum depression
  • reduced postpartum weight retention
  • lower mother and father stress
  • reduced family violence, and
  • better parenting and co-parenting quality.

Infants in these families show better self-regulation, and teachers report that in first grade, the children show fewer emotional and behavioral problems and better school adjustment. Recent work has demonstrated long-term impacts 10 years after birth on parent and child well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

U.S. and international collaborators have collaborated with Mark in creating a suite of Family Foundations adaptations for high-risk groups, such as:

  • teen parents,
  • low-income parents,
  • parents with a child diagnosed with Autism, and
  • couples where a parent has a moderate level of alcohol use.

Several other versions are in the pipeline or being tested, including versions to enhance family sleep and reduce obesity risk.

International Coparenting Hub

With support from the Penn State Social Science Research Institute and the College of Health and Human Development, Mark is creating an infrastructure to support researchers around the world interested in examining co-parenting relations and implementing intervention programs. The Hub will also engage in education, policy, and communication to promote recognition of the importance of team parenting for parent and child lifelong mental and physical health—with the goal of catalyzing initiatives in education, social services, health care, and other sectors of society.

Prevention-related Projects

Recent Publications

Long-term effects of adolescent substance use prevention on participants, partners, and their children: Resiliency and outcomes 15 years later during the COVID-19 pandemic

Feinberg, M. E., Fang, S., Fosco G. M., Sloan, C. J., Mogle, J., &  Spoth, R. L. (2022). Long-term effects of adolescent substance use prevention on participants, partners, and their children: Resiliency and outcomes 15 years later during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prevention Science. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-022-01384-2

Promoting toddlers’ self-regulation and healthy eating habits among families living in poverty: A randomized controlled trial of Recipe 4 Success

Nix, R. L., Gill, S., Hostetler, M. L., Feinberg, M. E., Francis, L. A., Stifter, C. A., McNeil, C.B., Kidder, S., Jones, D. E., Park, Y., Kim, C. N., Engbretson, A. G., Braaten, S. M., & Tamkin, V. L., (In press). Promoting toddlers’ self-regulation and healthy eating habits among families living in poverty: A randomized controlled trial of Recipe 4 Success. Child Development.

Coparenting-focused preventive intervention reduces postnatal maternal body mass index and buffers impact of cortisol

Moran, L. J., Lee, J., Jones, D. E., Fronberg, K. & Feinberg, M. E. (2022). Coparenting-focused preventive intervention reduces postnatal maternal body mass index and buffers impact of cortisol. Obesity. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.23466

A pilot study of a co-parenting intervention for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Hock, R.M., Rovane, A.K., Feinberg, M.E., Jones, D.E., & Holbert. A.A. (2022). A pilot study of a co-parenting intervention for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Child and Family Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-022-02278-1

Family vulnerability, disruption, and chaos predict parent and child COVID-19 health-protective behavior adherence

Fosco, G. M., LoBraico, E. J., Sloan, C. J., Fang, S., & Feinberg, M. E. (2021). Family vulnerability, disruption, and chaos predict parent and child COVID-19 health-protective behavior adherence. Families, systems & health: The Journal of Collaborative Family Healthcare. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/fsh0000649

Family vulnerability and disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic: Prospective pathways to child maladjustment

Fosco, G.M., Sloan, C. J., Fang, S., & Feinberg M.E. (2021). Family vulnerability and disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic: Prospective pathways to child maladjustment. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13458

Predictors of attendance patterns in a universal family-based preventive intervention program

LoBraico, E.J., Fosco, G.M., Feinberg, M.E., Spoth, R. Redmond, C. & Bray, B.C. (In Press). Predictors of Attendance Patterns in a Universal Family-Based Preventive Intervention Program. Journal of Primary Prevention.  

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parent, child, and family functioning

Feinberg. M.E., Mogle. J.A., Lee, J.K., Tornello, S.L, Hostetler, M.L. Cifelli. J.A., Bai, S., Hotez, E. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parent, child, and family functioning. Family Process. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12649

Moderators of friend selection and influence in relation to adolescent alcohol use

Hoeben, E.M., Rulison, K.L., Ragan, D.T., & Feinberg, M.E. (2021). Moderators of friend selection and influence in relation to adolescent alcohol use. Prevention Science, 22 (5), 567-578. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-021-01208-9

Constellations of family risk for long-term adolescent antisocial behavior: A latent profile analysis

LoBraico, E.J., Bray, B.C., Feinberg, M.E., & Fosco, G.M. (2020). Constellations of Family Risk for Long-Term Adolescent Antisocial Behavior: A Latent Profile Analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 34, 587-597. 

Improving toddler's healthy eating habits and self-regulation: A randomized controlled trial

Nix, R.L., Francis, L.A., Feinberg, M.E., Gill, S., Jones, D.E., Hostetler, M.L., & Stifter, C.A. (2021). Improving toddler's healthy eating habits and self-regulation: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 147(1). Article e20193326. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-3326

Designing evidence-based public health and prevention programs: Expert program developers explain the science and art

Feinberg, M. (2020). Designing evidence-based public health and prevention programs: Expert program developers explain the science and art. Routledge.

Intimate partner aggression during the early parenting years: The role of dissatisfaction with division of labor and childcare

Wong, J. D., Marshall, A. D., & Feinberg, M. E. (2021). Intimate partner aggression during the early parenting years: The role of dissatisfaction with division of labor and childcare. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 10(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1037/cfp0000156

Age-varying associations of parental knowledge and antisocial peer behavior with adolescent substance use

Mak, H. W., Russell, M. A., Lanza, S. T., Feinberg, M. E., & Fosco, G. M. (2019). Age-varying associations of parental knowledge and antisocial peer behavior with adolescent substance use. Developmental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/dev0000866 PMCID: PMC7195894

Constellations of family risk for long-term adolescent antisocial behavior: A latent profile analysis

LoBraico, E.J., Bray, B.C., Feinberg, M.E., & Fosco, G.M. (2020). Constellations of Family Risk for Long-Term Adolescent Antisocial Behavior: A Latent Profile Analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 34, 587-597. 

Constellations of family risk for long-term adolescent antisocial behavior

LoBraico, E., Bray, B., Feinberg, M., & Fosco, G. (2020). Constellations of family risk for adolescent antisocial behavior. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(5), 587-597. (e-pub ahead of publication). https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/fam0000640

Exploring influence of triadic family relationship profiles on adolescents’ early substance initiation

Xia, M., Weymouth, B., Bray, B.C., Lippold, M. A., Feinberg, M.E., & Fosco, G.M. (2020). Exploring Influence of Triadic Family Relationship Profiles on Adolescents’ Early Substance Initiation. Prevention Science, 21, 519-529.   

Parents' PTSD symptoms and child abuse potential during the perinatal period: Direct associations and mediation via relationship conflict

Fredman, S. J., Le, Y., Marshall, A. D., Garcia Hernandez, W., Feinberg, M. E., & Ammerman, R. T. (2019). Parents' PTSD symptoms and child abuse potential during the perinatal period: Direct associations and mediation via relationship conflict. Child Abuse and Neglect, 90, 66-75. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.01.024

Prospective relations between prenatal maternal cortisol and child health outcomes

Roettger, M. E., Schreier, H. M. C., Feinberg, M. E., & Jones. D. E. (2019). Prospective relations between prenatal maternal cortisol and child health outcomes. Psychosomatic Medicine, 81(6), 557-565. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000705. PMID: 31058707

Hostile interactions in the family: What are the patterns and how are they linked to youth externalizing problems?

Glatz, T., Lippold, M.A., Jensen, T.M., Fosco, G.M., & Feinberg, M.E. (2020). Hostile interactions in the family: What are the patterns and how are they linked to youth externalizing problems? Journal of Early Adolescence, 40, 58-82.  

Examining the highs and lows of the collaborative relationship between technical assistance providers and prevention implementers

Chilenski, S. M., Welsh, J., Olson, J., Hoffman, L., Perkins, D., & Feinberg, M. E. (2018). Examining the highs and lows of the collaborative relationship between technical assistance providers and prevention implementers. Prevention Science, 19, 250-259.

Beliefs about using smartphones for health behavior change: An elicitation study with overweight and obese rural women

Symons Downs, D., Smyth, J. M., Heron, K. E., Feinberg, M. E., Hillemeier, M., & Materia, F. T. (2018). Beliefs about using smartphones for health behavior change: An elicitation study with overweight and obese rural women. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science.

Experimental support for a family systems approach to child development: Multiple mediators of intervention effects across the transition to parenthood

Feinberg, M. E., & Jones, D. E. (2018). Experimental support for a family systems approach to child development: Multiple mediators of intervention effects across the transition to parenthood. Couple and Family Psychology, 7(2), 63-75.

Family and child outcomes 2 years after a transition to parenthood intervention

Jones, D. E., Feinberg, M. E., Hostetler, M. L., Roettger, M. E., Paul, I. J., & Ehrenthal, D. B. (2018). Family and child outcomes 2 years after a transition to parenthood intervention. Family Relations, 67, 270-286. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12309

A dyadic perspective on PTSD symptoms’ associations with couple functioning and parenting stress in first-time parents

Fredman, S. J., Le, Y., Marshall, A. D., Brick, T. R., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). A dyadic perspective on PTSD symptoms’ associations with couple functioning and parenting stress in first-time parents. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 6, 117–132. doi:10.1037/cfp0000079

Transactions between substance use intervention, the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene, and peer substance use predicting youth alcohol use

Cleveland, H. H., Griffin, A. M., Wolf, P. A., Vandenbergh, D. J., Feinberg, M. E., Schlomer, G. L., Greenberg, M., Spoth, R., & Redmond, C. (2017). Transactions between substance use intervention, the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene, and peer substance use predicting youth alcohol use. Prevention Science, 19(1), 1–12. PMCID: PMC5696096

Parenting stress mediates the association between negative affectivity and harsh parenting: A longitudinal dyadic analysis

Le, Y., Fredman, S. J., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). Parenting stress mediates the association between negative affectivity and harsh parenting: A longitudinal dyadic analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(6), 679–688. PMCID: PMC5607072

Assessing coparenting relationships in daily life: The Daily Coparenting Scale (D-Cop)

McDaniel, B. T., Teti, D. M., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). Assessing coparenting relationships in daily life: The Daily Coparenting Scale (D-Cop). Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(9), 2396–2411. PMCID: PMC5646838

PROSPER intervention effects on adolescents’ alcohol misuse vary by GABRA2 genotype and age

Russell, M., Schlomer, G. L., Cleveland, H. H., Vandenbergh, D. J., Feinberg, M. E., Greenberg, M. T., Spoth, R., & Redmond, C. (2017). PROSPER intervention effects on adolescents’ alcohol misuse vary by GABRA2 genotype and age. Prevention Science, 19(1), 1–11. PMCID: PMC5552492

Extending previous cGxI findings on 5-HTTLPR's moderation of intervention effects on adolescent substance misuse initiation

Schlomer, G. L., Cleveland, H. H., Feinberg, M. E., Wolf, Pedro S. A., Greenberg, M. T., Spoth, R. L., Redmond, C., Tricou, E. P., & Vandenbergh, D. J. (2017). Extending previous cGxI findings on 5-HTTLPR's moderation of intervention effects on adolescent substance misuse initiation. Child Development, 88(6), 2001–2012. PMCID:PMC5422137 

Risk factors for substance misuse and adolescents’ symptoms of depression

Siennick, S. E., Widdowson, A. E., Woessner, M. K., Feinberg, M. E., & Spoth, R. L. (2017). Risk factors for substance misuse and adolescents’ symptoms of depression. Journal of Adolescent Health, 60(1), 50–56. PMCID: PMC5182119

PROSPER delivery of universal preventive interventions with young adolescents: Long-term effects on emerging adult substance misuse and associated risk behaviors

Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Shin, C., Greenberg, M. T., Feinberg, M. E., & Trudeau, L. (2017). PROSPER delivery of universal preventive interventions with young adolescents: Long-term effects on emerging adult substance misuse and associated risk behaviors. Psychological Medicine, 47(13), 2246–2259. PMID:28399955

Dynamical systems modeling of couple interaction: A new method for assessing intervention impact across the transition to parenthood

Feinberg, M. E., Xia, M., Fosco, G. M., Heyman, R. E., & Chow, S.-M. (2017). Dynamical systems modeling of couple interaction: A new method for assessing intervention impact across the transition to parenthood. Prevention Science, 18(8), 887–898. PMID:28597177

Nurturant-involved parenting and adolescent substance use: Examining an internalizing pathway through adolescent social anxiety symptoms and substance refusal efficacy

Weymouth, B. B., Fosco, G. M., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). Nurturant-involved parenting and adolescent substance use: Examining an internalizing pathway through adolescent social anxiety symptoms and substance refusal efficacy. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 1–14. PMID:29212564

The Children, Intimate Relationships, and Conflictual Life Events (CIRCLE) interview for simultaneous measurement of intimate partner and parent to child aggression

Marshall, A. D., Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D. E., & Chote, D. R. (2017). The Children, Intimate Relationships, and Conflictual Life Events (CIRCLE) interview for simultaneous measurement of intimate partner and parent to child aggression. Psychological Assessment, 29(8), 978–989. PMCID: PMC5357592

Drug prevention coalition context and capacity assessment: Comparing the United States and Mexico

Brown, L., Chilenski, S., Ramos, R., Gallegos, N., & Feinberg, M. E. (2016). Drug prevention coalition context and capacity assessment: Comparing the United States and Mexico. Health Education and Behavior, 43(2), 145-155. doi: 10.1177/1090198115596165

The power of a collaborative relationship between technical assistance providers and community prevention teams: A correlational and longitudinal study

Chilenski, S., Perkins, D. F., Olson, J. R., Hoffman, L., Feinberg, M. E., Greenberg, M. T., Welsh, J. A., Crowley, D. M., & Spoth, R. L. (2016). The power of a collaborative relationship between technical assistance providers and community prevention teams: A correlational and longitudinal study. Evaluation and Program Planning, 54(1), 19-29. doi:10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2015.10.002

Universal prevention exposure as a moderator of the community context: Findings from the PROSPER project

Chilenski, S., Welsh, J. A., Perkins, D. F., Feinberg, M. E., & Greenberg, M. T. (2016). Universal prevention exposure as a moderator of the community context: Findings from the PROSPER project. American Journal of Community Psychology, 57(12), 819. doi: 00910562

Couple-focused prevention at the transition to parenthood, a randomized trial: Effects on coparenting, parenting, family violence, and parent and child adjustment

Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D. E., Hostetler, M. L., Roettger, M. E., Paul, I. M., & Ehrenthal, D. B. (2016). Couple-focused prevention at the transition to parenthood, a randomized trial: Effects on coparenting, parenting, family violence, and parent and child adjustment. Prevention Science: the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research, 17(6), 751-764. doi: 13894986

Preventive effects on birth outcomes: Buffering impact of maternal stress, depression, and anxiety

Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D. E., Roettger, M. E., Hostetler, M. L., Sakuma, K. L., Paul, I. M., & Ehrenthal, D. B. (2016). Preventive effects on birth outcomes: Buffering impact of maternal stress, depression, and anxiety. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(1), 56-65. doi: 10927875

Trajectories of adolescent hostile-aggressive behavior and family climate: Longitudinal implications for young adult romantic relationship competence

Fosco, G.M., Van Ryzin, M., Xia, M., & Feinberg, M.E. (2016). Trajectories of adolescent hostile-aggressive behavior and family climate: Longitudinal implications for young adult romantic relationship competence. Developmental Psychology, 52(7), 1139-1150.

Professional gatekeeping toward fathers: A powerful influence on family and child development

Frascarolo, F., Feinberg, M. E., Sznitman, A., & Favez, N. (2016). Professional gatekeeping toward fathers: A powerful influence on family and child development. World Association for Infant Mental Health, 14.

Friends first? The peer network origins of adolescent dating

Kreager, D. A., Molloy, L. E., Moody, J., & Feinberg, M. E. (2016). Friends first? The peer network origins of adolescent dating. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 26(2), 257-269.

The double standard at sexual debut: Gender, sexual behavior and early adolescent peer acceptance

Kreager, D. A., Staff, J., Gauthier, R., Lefkowitz, E. S., & Feinberg, M. E. (2016). The double standard at sexual debut: Gender, sexual behavior and early adolescent peer acceptance. Sex Roles, 75(78), 377-392.

Knowledge lability: Within-person changes in parental knowledge and their associations with adolescent problem behavior

Lippold, M. A., Fosco, G. M., Ram, N., & Feinberg, M. E. (2016). Knowledge lability: Within-person changes in parental knowledge and their associations with adolescent problem behavior. Prevention Science, 17, 274-283.

Siblings of youth with autism spectrum disorders: Theoretical perspectives on sibling relationships and individual adjustment

McHale, S. M., Updegraff, K. A., & Feinberg, M. E. (2016). Siblings of youth with autism spectrum disorders: Theoretical perspectives on sibling relationships and individual adjustment. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46, 589-602.

Family-focused prevention with Latinos: What about sisters and brothers?

Updegraff, K. A., Umana-Taylor, A. J., Rodriguez De Jesus, S. A., McHale, S. M., Feinberg, M. E., & Kuo, S. I. (2016). Family-focused prevention with Latinos: What about sisters and brothers? Journal of Family Psychology, 30(5), 633-640.

Intervention designed to diminish substance use blocks the genetic effect of the Alpha 5 subunit of the nicotinic receptor (CHRNA5) on adolescent smoking

Vandenbergh, D. J., Schlomer, G., Cleveland, H. H., Feinberg, M. E., Greenberg, M. T., Spoth, R., Redmond, C., & Hair, K. (2016, In Press). Intervention designed to diminish substance use blocks the genetic effect of the Alpha 5 subunit of the nicotinic receptor (CHRNA5) on adolescent smoking. Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

An adolescent substance prevention model blocks the effect of CHRNA5 genotype on smoking during high school

Vandenbergh, D. J., Schlomer, G. L., Cleveland, H. H., Schink, A. E., Hair, K. L., Feinberg, M. E., Neiderhiser, J. M., Greenberg, M. T., Spoth, R. L., & Redmond, C. (2016). An adolescent substance prevention model blocks the effect of CHRNA5 genotype on smoking during high school. Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 18(2), 212-220. doi: 14622203

Examining reciprocal influences among family climate, school attachment, and academic self-regulation: Implications for school success

Xia, M., Fosco, G. M., & Feinberg, M. E. (2016). Examining reciprocal influences among family climate, school attachment, and academic self-regulation: Implications for school success. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 442-452.

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Family Foundations helps support military families expecting their first child

Online training developed at Penn State promotes warmth, nurturing and stability in the family The arrival of a newborn can be stressful for all new parents, but may be especially so for those in the military. On top of sleep deprivation and being responsible for an infant 24 hours a day, military parents can experience the additional stress of deployment, frequent moves and uncertainty about the future.

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How winning friends may influence adolescent behaviors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Adolescents may get by with a little help from their friends, but, according to Penn State researchers, friend selection and friend influence, as well as gender, may all play a role in establishing friendships that can help, or possibly hurt, them.

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Well-being of "left behind" children in Kyrgyzstan focus of study

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