Alcohol and substance use disorders and recovery processes among youth and emerging adults; understanding how daily experiences of individuals in recovery can prevent relapse to substance use
At the broadest levels, my research interests are in interrupting cycles of trauma. Within that umbrella, I have looked at the specific traumas of child abuse and involvement in the child welfare system. More recently, I have begun looking beyond the lived experience to include historical traumas experienced by my ancestors and passed down intergenerationally as a means of understanding the high rates of asthma experienced by Puerto Ricans. From a prevention science perspective, then, I see the historical traumas compounded by contemporary traumas (i.e., racism, discrimination, ACEs) as playing a role in negative health outcomes and, cultural connection as protective and healing methods that can reduce the harms of those traumas.
Social-emotional development and self-regulation in early childhood; organizational, structural, and program barriers and facilitators to successful dissemination, implementation and support of preventive interventions in real-world contexts; finite mixture models.
Healthy human/identity development in emerging adulthood; college student adjustment, retention and success; Acceptance and Commitment Training as a teaching and programming tool for supporting college students; experiential education in college courses and in programming for college student development; development and success of college educators and advisors.
Risk and protective factors, consequences, and prevention of health-risk behaviors and the developmental and socio-contextual processes that underlie these behaviors among adolescents and young adults, with a focus on under-studied populations.
School violence, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher recruitment processes, and student success in distance education.
Prevention science: research on the translation, implementation, evaluation and scale-up of prevention and health promotion programs in real-world settings; parent-child relationships in adolescence and young adulthood.
Family stress and functioning, effects of human animal interaction (equine assisted interventions), HPA axis activity and child development
Director of the Lab for the Developing Mind. Research focuses on the neural basis of self-regulatory processes, risk and protective factors for mental illness, and role of parent-child interactions on brain, cognitive, and socio-emotional development.
Adolescent sexuality and romantic relationships; media and adolescent well-being; adolescent and emerging adult sexual violence prevention; parent-adolescent relationships and communication
Director of the Early Learning Lab. Research focuses on mathematical development, including how math skills and attitudes change over time, the development and evaluation of playful learning interventions, and the supporting role of interactions with parents, teachers, and peers.
Research focuses on investigating older adults’ needs across a continuum of care (Unmet and undermet needs, help-seeking behaviors; utilization and effectiveness of health and social long-term service and supports in later life; social determinants of health and rural aging) and championing multidisciplinary research to identify evidence-based strategies that promote health and improve quality of services (lifespan prevention science; gerontological workforce development; grief and loss, death and dying)
Adolescent development; the role of leisure and free-time in risk behavior and healthy development; positive youth development; substance use
Community-police relations in historically marginalized communities, historical and racial trauma, criminal justice reform, health equity research, family and community resilience, grounded theory research, community-engaged research, and culturally-responsive intervention design and implementation.
Adult development and aging; mental health in later life; personality development; family gerontology
Qualitative Inquiry; Decolonizing Theory and Epistemology; Autoethnography; Narrative of Us versus Them; Social Justice in Human Development
Childhood obesity prevention, child feeding practices, young children’s health knowledge, effect of new technologies and media, systems for supporting quality child care, support for military families
Child welfare system; aging out of foster care; developing, adapting, and testing interventions; program evaluation; maltreatment, trauma, and PTSD; LGBTQ youth well-being
Family well-being of low-income households including family health, access to healthcare, food insecurity, economic well-being, and family relations. The current research project is a multi-state longitudinal research project Rural Families Speak about Resilience (RFSR) which examines interactions of individual, family, community, and policy contexts on the well-being of diverse rural, low-income families; Another recent project is a multi-disciplinary collaboration on Health Behaviors and Well-Being in Context of Covid-19 which focuses on impact of social distancing on financial stress, food insecurity, and resilience of US adults.
Understanding how women’s personal birth philosophies enter into birth treatment decision making; examining how evidence-based information on specific birth treatments may influence decisions; assessing outcomes and safety of acupuncture for specific perinatal concerns to guide women’s decision making on treatment options
The development of healthy emotional and physiological regulation in early life with a focus on the role of the parent-child attachment relationship as a protective and socializing influence.