Dr. Lauren Cattaneo's Lab for Social Justice Research focuses on the relevance of psychology for addressing pressing social issues. Current projects center in two areas. First, Dr. Cattaneo and her students study the ways that survivors of intimate partner violence interact with the systems that are designed to help them, with a particular focus on the justice system and the key construct of empowerment. Second, the lab integrates teaching and research to explore methods of increasing civic engagement through higher education. With a grant from the Spencer Foundation, the lab is studying the influence of service learning on students' civic attitudes and behaviors over time.
Dr. Chaplin’s Adolescent Emotion Lab is conducting three NIH-funded studies related to adolescent emotion regulation and the development and prevention of psychopathology and substance use. First, Dr. Chaplin and her students are conducting a longitudinal study of parent-adolescent interactions, adolescent emotional and physiological reactivity, and the development of substance use and risk behaviors in adolescents. Second, her lab is conducting an fMRI study of adolescents’ emotion and reward-related brain activation as predictors of adolescent substance use (in collaboration with Dr. Jim Thompson of GMU). Third, Dr. Chaplin’s lab is conducting a study to develop and pilot test a mindfulness intervention for parents of adolescents to reduce parent stress, improve parent-child relationships, and prevent youth risk behaviors (in collaboration with Dr. Sarah Fischer of GMU).
Dr. Esposito-Smythers’ Adolescent Mental Health Promotion Lab focuses on the advancement of healthy adolescent cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral development. The primary emphasis is on the development and testing of family-based cognitive-behavioral prevention and treatment programs for adolescent mental health problems and high-risk behaviors, with a particular focus on adolescent suicidal behavior and substance abuse. Also studied are the mechanisms through which adolescents develop suicidal behavior and substance abuse, as well as factors that protect against these outcomes.
The Anxiety, Stress, & Relationships Lab focuses on the interpersonal context of anxiety and response to stress and trauma. The primary emphasis is on understanding how PTSD affects and is affected by romantic relationships, with a particular emphasis on military couples. However, we have multiple ongoing research projects, such as understanding individual predictors of trauma response, couples' communication and perceptions of criticism, effects of anxiety on relationship processes, and risk factors for specific OC spectrum disorders.
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