Participate In Research


  • Have you been wondering whether having children is right for you?

  • Or if now is the right time?

  • Have you been wondering if remaining childfree is the right choice for you? Your spouse or partner? Your relationship? 

We are currently developing and testing a way of helping couples and individuals work through these issues. if you’d like to explore whether you and your partner are right for this study, please contact us!  Phone: 630.708.0362 Email:

Did you know that most couples have questions about whether or not having children is the right choice for them? Even more couples have a lot of questions about what being a parent would look like and how it might affect their relationship. Some people wonder how theirexperiences growing up might influence parenting a child. Many people also wonder what their child free lives with their partners would look like.

You wouldn’t guess that people have all these questions based on media coming out of baby-crazed Hollywood and pressure from friends and family! Often, the message is “have kids…that’s what people do.”

Study Details

We are seeking research participants for a study designed test a way of working with couples and individuals to help them make decisions about having children or not having children.

The model we are testing, Choosing the Childfree or Parenting Lifestyle (CCOPL), is being created to help couples openly and honestly examine their motives for having children or not having children, and to provide information to couples about the necessary changes and sacrifices parents make to raise happy, healthy children. We are also looking at how attachment styles and intergenerational issues impact decisions about creating a family.

If you choose to participate and are admitted to the study, you’ll be asked to commit to one seminar-style weekend session during which 10 topics related to choosing to have a family or remain childfree will be discussed. A comprehensive set of individual and couple assessments are a part of the study and participants will have assessment results explained to them prior to the session.

Because this study is organized like a workshop, and couples are only asked to initially commit to the first session, couples who live outside of Illinois are welcome to contact us to be screened. Researchers can help couples that are admitted to the study and travel to Chicago for the study to find accommodations.

A negligible charge will cover refreshments and incidentals.

Benefits of Participation

1.) Relationship, trauma history, emotional functioning, and attachment assessments and explanation of results of assessments.

2.) Resources on relationships, parenting, and remaining childfree.

3.) Psycho-education in a group format on:

A) The ways your experiences growing up impact your relationship and might impact future parenting

B) Current and past relationship functioning

C) Risks and benefits of choosing to have children and the risks and benefits of choosing to remain childfree.

D) The latest research on risk factors, risk reducers, and statistics related to romantic relationships, parenthood, and  outcomes for children.

4.) A safe, empathic, and validating space for participants to explore their thoughts, feelings and experiences, and assist them in making important life decisions with support and feedback.

5.) Couples will have opportunities to get to know one another better.

6.) Individuals and couples may be empowered through the increase in knowledge surrounding issues of forming a family. As a result of engaging in an introspective journey on this matter prior to making a decision that is difficult to undo, participants may be less likely to experience regret about reproductive decisions, regardless of which path is chosen.

Am I Right for this Study?

1. I am in a committed, long-term relationship or am married.

2. My partner and I do not have children.

3. Both my partner and I are willing to participate in at least one workshop-style weekend in Chicago, Illinois.

4. This study is CONFIDENTIAL. Both my partner and I are willing to be video-recorded so researchers can better understand how this issue affects individuals and couples.

5. I am willing to explore my thoughts and feelings about starting a family versus remaining childfree.

6. My partner or spouse and I have not engaged in physical fighting in the past 12 months.

7. Should my partner and I choose to have children, we would likely choose to have biological children. ***Note: we fully supportcouples that choose adoption as the primary way to form their family. However, the specific model being developed and tested is designed to address the particular topics involved in having biological children. The researchers fully intend, in the future, to design a model specifically for couples who wish to adopt.***

If this sounds like you, if you have any questions, or if you’d like to explore whether you and your partner are right for this study, please contact us!

Phone: 630.708.0362


About the Researchers


Nikki Massey-Hastings, PsyD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

rastogiMudita Rastogi PhD, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist         Mudita Rastogi, Ph.D., is Professor and the Coordinator of the Child and Family Concentration at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Schaumburg, IL. She obtained her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University, her Master’s degree in Psychology from University of Bombay, and her BA (Honors) in Psychology from University of Delhi. Dr. Rastogi has published extensively in the areas of family and couple therapy, cross-cultural and gender issues and South Asian families, is editor of the book “Multicultural Couple Therapy” (2009, Sage Publications), and has authored several other publications. She is also Program Director for the SAMHSA funded Minority Fellowship Program at AAMFT. From 2005 to 2011, Dr. Rastogi served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Dr. Rastogi has over fifteen years of clinical experience in both India and the United States with a highly diverse client population, and is in private practice in Arlington Heights, Illinois as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her research and clinical interests include couples, families, attachment, adolescents, cultural and gender issues, domestic violence and trauma. She frequently presents workshops nationally and internationally. Additionally, Dr. Rastogi maintains an interest in partnering with grassroots, not-for-profit organizations.

Research Approval

This research study has been reviewed and Certified by the Institutional Review Board, Argosy University – Schaumburg, Illinois. For research-related problems or questions regarding participants’ rights, I can contact the Chair of the Institutional Board, Robert Eme, PhD, at 847.969.4943.

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