Faculty

Cathryn Booth-LaForce is the Charles and Gerda Spence Endowed Professor in the School of Nursing. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology and an Affiliate of the Center on Human Development and Disability and Infant Mental Health and Development. Dr. Booth-LaForce's primary research interest is the social-emotional development of children. In longitudinal projects that follow children from infancy to adolescence, she investigates early experiences in various contexts to examine how these experiences affect children's development. 

Primary research interests focus on the development and implementation of multi-tiered, response to intervention service delivery models. In particular, he is interested in designing and researching the benefits of this type of service delivery model with regard to the promotion and treatment of students’ mental health.

Lynn Fainsilber-Katz focuses on children’s social and emotional development in the context of family relationships, including marital conflict, domestic violence, and parent’s use of emotion coaching. She is particularly interested in children's ability to regulate emotion in face of adverse environments and life events, and how parenting buffers children from negative outcomes and helps them develop successful healthy relationships with others, including peers. Her studies have involved children exposed to varying types of adverse circumstances, including domestic violence and pediatric cancer. In Dr. Katz’s most current work, she is developing a parenting intervention to promote the use of emotion coaching in families experiencing domestic violence to reduce the likelihood of behavioral and emotional problems in children.

Suzanne Kerns is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy. Clinical and research interests focus on translation of evidence based practices to real-world settings, their acquisition, adoption, and sustainability. She currently collaborates with agencies, communities and Tribes to develop strategic planning to increase effective utilization of evidence-based practices. She is a program consultant and involved in research of Family Integrated Transitions, an intervention targeting youth returning to their communities after being incarcerated, and Project Focus, an experimental study of strategies designed to increase access to evidence-based services for youth in foster care through caseworker and clinician training and consultation. She is also a certified trainer for Triple P Positive Parenting Program.

Pathways to Alcohol and Drug Use and Dependence, Stress and Coping, Developmental Psychopathology, Longitudinal Methods

Liliana Lengua studies children’s individual differences in response to the experience of socioeconomic, psychosocial, family, and parenting risk factors. Children’s temperament, or individual differences in emotionality and self-regulation, differentiates children who are likely to develop problems in the face of risk from those who are resilient. Dr. Lengua’s most recent work examines the development of children’s self-regulation, a key predictor of their social, emotional, and academic competence, in preschool children growing up in poverty and low income homes. Advserity, family functioning, parenting and physiology are studied as potential mechanisms in children’s developing self-regulation. The information gained from this study will be used to develop an intervention that will give parents the tools they need to help their children develop this critical skill.

Katie McLaughlin's research seeks to identify psychological and neurobiological mechanisms linking adverse childhood environments to the onset of psychopathology in youths using a variety of tools, including neuropsychological assessments, electrophysiology (e.g., measures of autonomic nervous system function, EEG) and brain imaging, including structural and functional MRI. Dr. McLaughlin has used these tools to study children and adolescents exposed to a wide range of adverse environmental experiences, including caregiver maltreatment, community violence exposure, institutional rearing, and poverty, and has identified a variety of neurodevelopmental mechanisms that underlie the relationship between adverse environments in childhood and the subsequent onset of mental disorders, including elevated emotional and physiological reactivity to stress, poor emotion regulation skills, executive functioning deficits, and disruptions in social cognition. 

Paula Nurius studies processes and effects of stress on youth and families, with special interest in combined and distinct contributions of adverse or traumatic experiences and chronic stress associated with social disadvantage. Populations include victims of violence, longitudinal tracking of at-risk youth into adulthood, links to health disparities such as adverse birth outcomes as a function of lifecourse stress, effects of adverse childhood experiences on later mental and physical health conditions, and stress effects of combat and repeat deployment on military personnel and their families. Focus is on basic as well as applied prevention-oriented research, assessing cumulative and distinct stressor effects on mental health and psychosocial outcomes, as well as the effects of protective factors in fostering resilience.

Susan Spieker focuses her research on infant and child social and emotional development. Most of her projects investigate caregiving and child outcomes in high-risk, vulnerable populations, including low-income families and maltreating or substance-using parents. She currently directs a major clinical trial to test the comparative effectiveness of two brief, home visiting interventions to help foster parents support the relationships they are developing with their foster infants and toddlers.