The Child and Family Processes and Maltreatment/Violence Research Program in supports studies of child developmental and family processes in high-risk settings (e.g., violent or abusive environments, child protective environments, juvenile justice environments) or in family environments where stressors such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, father absence, military family structure, deployment and combat-related trauma, or parental depression are present. In addition, the Program supports studies that examine protective factors that mitigate the risks of poor outcomes including parenting, social and cultural support mechanisms, and biological influences that shape development and developmental outcomes.
The Program also encourages translational research to understand the uses of media individually and in the home environment, as well as empirical research to address the psychological, social, cognitive, and behavioral effects media may have on child and adolescent psychological health and development and family functioning.
Child Maltreatment. Areas of focus within the Program include antecedents and consequences of child abuse and neglect as well as psychosocial and psychobiological factors that shed light on the mechanisms by which child abuse and neglect result in harmful effects. In addition, the Program aims to identify factors that help children cope with abuse and neglect and to develop theory-driven prevention and intervention strategies that reduce the risk for maltreatment and ameliorate its effects on development. Also of interest are studies that examine children’s emotional responses and physiological reactivity to trauma and conflict as mediators and moderators in the associations between exposure to parental/marital conflict, child adjustment, moral development, and cognitive and behavioral problems.
Violence and Childhood Exposure to Violence. Supported research addresses the public health, justice, social services, and educational problems associated with childhood and adolescent exposure to violence. Studies examining the trajectories of social development that may lead to antisocial behavior, conduct problems and aggression are encouraged. The Program aims to develop new knowledge about the definition, identification, epidemiology, prevention, etiology, early intervention, and mechanisms of violence and violence exposure and their impact on development. Research topics of interest include:
- Long-term psychological sequelae of childhood exposure to various forms of violence;
- Development of aggressive and violent behavior in childhood and adolescence (including individual, peer, family, neighborhood, and sociocultural influences);
- Effects of domestic, intimate partner, school bullying, teen dating, or community violence on individual development during infancy, childhood, or adolescence;
- Factors within family, social, neighborhood, and school contexts that mitigate the consequences of violence on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children;
- Effects and processes related to social and political violence, in domestic and international contexts, including studies that focus on children affected by and involved in armed conflict, possible interactions of stereotyped ethnic identities, and group affiliation to foster violent behavior, trauma and the effects of war, terrorism, and man-made and natural disasters on long-term developmental outcomes.
Contact: Valerie Maholmes