Psychology

Her research interests are in evidence-based treatments (EBT) for children and adolescents, with a particular focus on dissemination and implementation of EBT domestically and internationally. Her work has often focused on Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), with hybrid research designs that include both effectiveness and implementation questions. She has focused on adaptation of EBT for unique populations (e.g., foster care) and on training and supervision strategies to deliver TF-CBT and other EBT. Dr. Dorsey is a Principal Investigator on two NIH-funded randomized controlled trials (RCT) involving TF-CBT, both of which include implementation and clinical outcome research questions. The first, in Washington State, studies the role of supervisors in public mental health settings in supporting EBT with clinicians under their supervision. The second, in Tanzania and Kenya, is a RCT of TF-CBT using a task-shifting/task-sharing model in which lay counselors, with little to no prior mental health training, deliver group-based TF-CBT to orphaned children and adolescents, under close supervision by local supervisors, themselves supervised by TF-CBT experts.

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.

Measurement; Analysis of change over time; Substance use and development of dependence

Cheryl Kaiser is interested in the development of self, social identity, prejudice, stigma, social justice, and the intersection of social science and law.

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. 

Kristina Olson studies social cognition in the preschool and middle childhood years. Her current research interests include how children think about and are influenced by social inequalities, the development of social class and raced-based prejudice, the motivations underlying prosocial behaviors such as sharing and helping, and gender nonconforming or transgendered youth.

Betty Repacholi studies social-cognitive and emotional development in infancy and early childhood. Her main research focus has been the exploration of infants’ responses to, and understanding of, other people’s emotional expressions. For instance, her work has explored whether infants understand a) what another person is emoting about and b) that different people can have different emotional responses about the exact same object or event. Her most recent research has examined infants’ ability to engage in emotional eavesdropping, whereby infants use emotional information gleaned from other people’s social interactions, to regulate their own actions. She is also exploring the role of infant temperament, inhibitory control, parental behavior, and family emotional climate in determining how infants respond to other people’s emotional displays.

Ronald Smith and Frank Smoll collaborate on basic and applied research, concerning psychosocial aspects of children’s participation in youth sports. The major purposes of their Youth Enrichment in Sports project (www.y-e-sports.com) are to develop, evaluate, and disseminate psychoeducational interventions for coaches and parents that are designed to foster more positive sport outcomes for young athletes. The project initially involved development of the Mastery Approach to Coaching (MAC) and the Mastery Approach to Parenting in Sports (MAPS) workshops – two interventions that are based on principles derived from social-cognitive and achievement goal theories. The interventions were then tested and proven efficacious in a series of field experiments. The MAC and MAPS workshops have been transformed into DVD format. Future research will involve assessment of the effectiveness of the DVD self-instruction programs, after which they will be distributed to national youth sport organizations.

Frank Smoll and Ronald Smith collaborate on basic and applied research, concerning psychosocial aspects of children’s participation in youth sports. The major purposes of their Youth Enrichment in Sports project (www.y-e-sports.com) are to develop, evaluate, and disseminate psychoeducational interventions for coaches and parents that are designed to foster more positive sport outcomes for young athletes. The project initially involved development of the Mastery Approach to Coaching (MAC) and the Mastery Approach to Parenting in Sports (MAPS) workshops – two interventions that are based on principles derived from social-cognitive and achievement goal theories. The interventions were then tested and proven efficacious in a series of field experiments. The MAC and MAPS workshops have been transformed into DVD format. Future research will involve assessment of the effectiveness of the DVD self-instruction programs, after which they will be distributed to national youth sport organizations.

Jessica Sommerville examines early social and physical reasoning and the role of agency in infant cognitive and memory development. She is particularly interested in the development of infants’ and children’s psychological understanding and causal reasoning, the ways in which these domains intersect in the course of development, and mechanisms supporting cognitive development, broadly construed.

Wendy Stone’s primary clinical and research interests focus on early identification and early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. Her research involves the characterization of early-emerging behavioral features of autism, with the dual goals of understanding the core deficits and mechanisms underlying development of the disorder, and designing targeted interventions to prevent or attenuate the expression of symptoms.