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Our faculty members have active research laboratories examining a variety of clinical phenomena. Currently, four global research areas are well represented within the expertise of our clinical faculty.
1) Developmental Psychopathology — The department of psychology and our clinical program have a strong commitment to the examination of developmental processes in psychopathology. Many of our faculty members have strong developmental psychopathology programs: Dr. Ashley Gearhardt examines how individual differences in responses to food may be linked to the development of obesity and disordered eating in children. Dr. Sandra Graham-Bermann studies risk and protective factors that mediate the link between children's exposure to violence and deleterious outcomes such as PTSD, externalizing behavior problems and anxiety/depression. Dr. Luke Hyde examines the development of antisocial behavioral with an emphasis on mechanisms linking early risk to adolescent and adult outcomes, as well as identifying subgroups of youth (e.g., those with callous-unemotional traits) with different etiologies and/or developmental trajectories. Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran studies the course of depression in children and adolescents. Dr. Sheryl Olson studies the development of antisocial behavior in young children, highlighting self-regulatory and family risk processes associated with long-term adjustment outcomes. Finally, Dr. Zahodne studies psychosocial factors in aging and neurodegenerative disease.
2) Culture & Psychopathology — Michigan has a strong tradition as a leading research center for the study of culture and mental health as most of our faculty engage in culturally and ethno-racial research. Dr. Olson studies the development and socialization of emotion regulation and early behavior problems across diverse cultural contexts (P.R. China, Japan, and the US). Her new work focuses on cross-national assessments of parents' intuitive (folk) theories of child psychopathology: they are developing and testing new measures for use with parents who reside in any culture across the world. Her recent R21 proposal focuses on US and China; if funded, they hope to expand to other cultures, particularly Jamaica and Mongolia. Dr. Gearhardt investigates the causes and consequences of obesity in a longitudinal sample of racially/ethnically diverse (45.1% Hispanic or not white) low-income children. Dr. Graham-Bermann’s research includes a clinical trial of Spanish speaking immigrant Latinas who have been exposed to intimate partner violence. All of the graduate and undergraduate students in her research lab are fluent Spanish speakers who have helped to translate materials, conduct interviews, and provide intervention for the women and children in our study. They have a second study of Alaskan and Alaska Native women and children exposed to intimate partner violence and have added researchers of Native American descent to their group. Dr. King, utilizing her CDC-funded community-based prevention trial with youth who are victims/perpetrators of bullying in Flint, Michigan, is conducting focus groups with teens and parents to develop culturally tailored study materials (language, measures, implementation strategies), and then establishing a Community Advisory Board to advise on how to make their prevention strategy as relevant and acceptable as possible to the surrounding community. In this and other studies, they offer comprehensive options for adolescents and young adults to self-report sexual identities/preferences. Dr. Chang studies cultural differences in predictors of depression, suicide risk, eating behaviors, and psychological well-being. This has included studies involving different ethnic groups (e.g., Asian Americans, Latinos, & African Americans) and different groups from around the world (e.g., Turkey, Hungary, China, Japan, & Korea). Dr. Nagata studies the long term consequences of Japanese internment during World War II. Dr. Hyde primarily studies low-income families living in urban neighborhoods, many of who are under-represented minorities. Moreover, in some of his work they have examined race differences (e.g., Black versus White Americans) on antisocial behavior, genetic, and neural functioning outcomes. Moreover, recent work has focused on the importance of representative sampling and including these types of families who have been under-represented in past research. Dr. Zahodne studies the psychosocial factors and racial/ethnic diversity in cognitive aging. In summary, 8/10 research faculty members have expertise, and are involved in, research with diverse ethnic and racial groups.
3) Cognitive/Affective Neuroscience and Psychopathology — Our program has a stellar cognitive and affective neuroscience focus. Dr. Patricia Deldin's Mood and Schizophrenia laboratory examines information processing to explore emotional and cognitive dysfunction in mood disorders and schizophrenia using neuroscience techniques (EEG, ERP, fMRI). Dr. Ashley Gearhardt employs fMRI and eye-tracking technology to identify mechanisms that may be contributing to pathological eating and substance use. Dr. Luke Hyde employs fMRI and neurogenetic/imaging genetics approaches to understand the interaction of genes and environments in their influence on brain function and behavior, especially in low-income families and children at risk for antisocial behavior. Using fMRI and other methods, Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran explores neuroendocrine functioning in childhood-onset mood disorders, with a focus on understanding how specific endocrine processes affect emotions and cognitions in depressed and anxious children. Fianally, Dr. Zahodne examines statistical modeling of symptoms trajectories in aging and neurodegenerative disease.
4) Intervention — Our faculty members have a strong commitment to the development and evaluation of empirically supported interventions for a variety of conditions. Dr. Sandra Graham-Bermann has completed two RCT's of intervention programs for women and both preschool-aged and school-aged children exposed to violence. Dr. Cheryl King is currently conducting randomized controlled clinical trials to examine the effectiveness of suicide risk screening and intervention strategies with adolescents and young adults. Dr. Sheryl Olson is currently developing an intervention program for parents of children at risk for externalizing behavior problems. Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran studies the cognitive, affective, and neuroendocrine changes that occur during the early phase of psychotherapy in children and adolescents receiving CBT for depressive disorders. Dr. Deldin is working on a new, community, evidence-based treatment paradigm, and several medication studies.
For more detail information about our current research opportunities please visit the website of our faculty members or visit some of our research laboratories below.