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Student Enriches Family Life Through Research

After experiencing a divorce, Beth Edwards was inspired to pursue the YFCS family life education and coaching degree.

Edwards is a former pediatrician and brings her experience of supporting families to her work in YFCS. She is specifically interested in enriching couple and family relationships and exploring how life events impact parenting and co-parenting dynamics. Conducting a longitudinal study to examine how life events affect parenting was the kind of research Edwards wanted.

The YFCS 500 course offers students the opportunity to work with a faculty member or organization(s) to design a master’s capstone project that aligns with their professional goals. Edwards sought to learn more about how large research projects operate and participate in qualitative research upon signing up for this course.

Beth Edwards

Edwards is currently researching alongside Annie Hardison-Moody and Sarah Bowen in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. They are co-leading a national study of families’ experiences of food insecurity during COVID. The study looks closely at factors that help or hinder family life. Edwards’ role in this research includes conducting interviews, quality-controlling interview transcripts, developing codebooks and coding.

Every individual experiences hardship, from illness, death, and birth to divorce or job loss. The way parents (and families) deal with these struggles determines the prosperity of family life and healthy relations. Through her research, Edwards will equip family life professionals with knowledge on advising and empowering families.

Listening to participants’ interviews, Edwards was enlightened, making her more aware of how powerful sharing a story can be. Her work reinforced the importance of listening to a client and taking the time to understand their position, feelings, and perspective. She emphasizes that “solutions can’t be based solely on what the professional thinks will help; they must be client-driven.” Edwards presented this research recently at the Family Life Coaching Association’s annual meeting.

Edwards is working on her thesis and plans to graduate this fall. She emphasized that her ultimate goal is to help families thrive. She views education and coaching as fantastic opportunities to enrich relationships among families.

We await with eager anticipation to see the incredible work Edwards will continue to do.