Modified ABC Randomized Trial
Although prenatal substance exposure is associated with negative developmental outcomes for infants, sensitive parenting may be a critical protective factor. We are currently conducting a randomized clinical trial of modified ABC for opioid-dependent women and their infants. I am primarily involved in event-related potential (ERP) and autonomic nervous system (ANS) data collection with women and their infants.
ABC – Middle Childhood Follow-Up
Our lab at the University of Delaware studies the short- and long-term impacts of the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) intervention. Ongoing data collection involves lab visits with families 8, 9, and 10 years after receiving ABC or a control intervention, as well as matched comparison families recruited recently.
I am interested in using behavioral and neurophysiological methodology to study the impact of adversity on child development and the parent-child relationship. My current role on the research team involves collecting event-related potential (ERP) and autonomic nervous system (ANS) data with high-risk and comparison school-age children and their primary caregivers.
Parents and Children Together (PACT)
This project is a collaboration between Villanova University, Rutgers University-Camden, and University of Delaware. PACT is a longitudinal study investigating the effect of parenting programs on family well being for families experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. Families are recruited at our community partner sites around the city, and are interviewed on site as well as in the community at follow up. Data include measures of history of adversity, parent mental health, child development, parenting and parent-child relationship.
As a student leader, I conducted interviews with families including the Brigance developmental screener, two LabTAB temperament tasks, and several validated questionnaires. I also developed and maintained relationships with the PACT community partners, scheduled and trained research assistants, and aided in data processing and project management.
My thesis project investigated the role of social support and maternal internalizing symptoms in the relationship between maternal history of adversity and responsiveness in the parent-child relationship. Results indicated that in the context of homelessness, maternal social support was associated with fewer internalizing symptoms, whereas adversity was associated with more symptoms. Symptoms predicted lower mutual responsiveness in the parent-child relationship two months later, suggesting that distress reduces relationship quality.
Frequency Specificity of the Auditory Response (WRAP Lab)
The auditory brainstem response (ABR) refers to the brain’s electrical activity very early in auditory processing – within the first 50 milliseconds of the presentation of a sound. We measure the ABR and other electrical activity using the event-related potential (ERP) technique, in which we attach non-invasive electrodes to the head. Recording of the ABR is used in clinical settings to help diagnose broad hearing loss in infants and other populations, but basic research has failed to comprehensively explain how the ABR changes in response to various frequencies and intensities. A more nuanced understanding of how the ABR changes in response to different frequencies would not only fill a large gap in basic research, but could also lead to the use of the ABR as a more sensitive diagnostic tool.