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Current Projects

BRAVE: Anxiety Prevention in Preschoolers

The BRAVE project is a community-based participatory research project designed to (1) determine the factors associated with increases in anxiety symptoms for preschool and young school-aged children in Harrisburg; and (2) to develop and test a preventive intervention to reduce these symptoms and positive outcomes as children transition to school.

Buss, Teti, Woodhouse, Witherspoon & Bierman, PIs
Funder: Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute

Building a Strong Identity and Coping Skills (BaSICS) Program

Building a Strong Identity and Coping Skills (BaSICS) is a new coping and empowerment intervention for preadolescent children who face significant chronic stress.

Wadsworth, PI
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

CoParenting, Infant Sleep, and Infant Development (SIESTA-FF)

This randomized clinical trial implements and evaluates the effects of a sleep-enhanced adaptation of an evidence-based transition-to-parenting coparenting intervention [Family Foundations (FF)] on quality of coparenting, parental well-being, parent and infant sleep, and infant-parent relationships.

Teti, PI
Funder: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development

Emerging Relations Between Attention and Negative Affect in the First Two Years of Life (LAnT)

The Longitudinal Attention and Temperament study is a longitudinal study examining attention to threat, biological markers, and early patterns of emotion across varying socioemotional contexts in children between the ages of 4 and 24 months.

Pérez-Edgar, Buss, and LoBue, PIs
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

Exploring the Mechanism of Engagement in HIV Testing, Prevention, and Care Among African American and Hispanic/Latino Men who Have Sex with Men

This project aims to build a collaborative research partnership with Alder Health Services to identify the needs of African American and Hispanic/Latino MSMs’ in HIV care access and engagement.

Adebayo, PI
Funder: Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Community-Engaged Research Core

Helping Families Understand Learning (HelpFUL)

The purpose of Project HelpFUL is to develop an assessment process for children who are struggling with language and reading that will give parents and professionals more insight into the nature of a child’s language difficulties than a traditional assessment does.

Williams, Miller, Huang-Pollock, and Bray, PIs
Penn State's Social Science Research Institute

Fam Best (Families Being Supportive Together) Study

The goal of the Fam Best study is to understand how parents and teens in the modern family support each other, by observing family interaction at home.

Bai, PI
Funder: Penn State SSRI and College of Health and Human Development

Multisystemic Therapy in Justice-Involved Juveniles: Mitigating the Effects of Inequality on Neurodevelopment and Ability to Succeed

This project will collect pilot data to support the premise that delays in neurocognitive development among at-risk adolescents compromise their ability to respond favorably to a widely used juvenile justice intervention- Multisystemic Therapy (MST) - compared to adolescents with higher levels of functioning.

Fishbein, Wadsworth, PIs
Funder: Social Science Research Institute

Opioid Use Disorder among Criminal Justice-Involved Women: Integrating Trauma-Informed and Gender-Specific Care with Medication-Assisted Treatment

This project focuses on developing and implementing a gender-specific intervention that provides overdose response training and links and retains criminal justice-involved women into medication- assisted treatment.

Jones, PI
National Institute on Drug Abuse

PARADE Project & PARADE Latino

The PARADE projects explore African American and Latino families’ daily experiences in Harrisburg and surrounding areas in order to understand more about how teens and parents interact with their environment, how they feel about the places they go, and how environment and culture shape parenting and youth behaviors.

Witherspoon, PI
Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, Department of Psychology, and McCourtney Family Early Career Professorship Funds

Parent Regulation, Engagement, Stress, and Health (PRESH)

This study addresses how parents experience and manage stress in their lives and how stress affects parenting and engagement in community supports. 

Lunkenheimer, PI
Funder: NICHD

Parent Regulation in Stressful Moments (PRISM)

The PRISM project is pilot study designed to better understand how parents regulate themselves, and how parents and children regulate each other, when parents discipline child misbehavior at home. 

Lunkenheimer, PI
Funder: Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute

RiseUptown: A Comprehensive Community-Research Approach to Preventing Community Violence

The goal of this project is to reduce violence and improve safety within the middle school and in the UpTown neighborhood of Harrisburg, PA.  The RiseUp multicomponent program combines school-embedded stress-and-trauma informed coping intervention (BaSICS) with a community-driven neighborhood crime and blight reduction initiative in which the youth are actively engaged. Study goals: (1) Identifying and eradicating crime hotspots and blight via improvements to the built environment, (2) addressing the need for transformative trauma-informed educational practices and preventive mental health services in the public schools, and (3) mobilizing community coalitions of parents and youth to work together on solutions for crime hotspots. 

Wadsworth, Lee, and Tri-County Community Action, PIs
Funder: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Strong Family Foundations

This is a randomized efficacy trial of a multi-modal couples’ intervention during the transition to parenthood in order to promote positive family processes and reduce heavy drinking in pregnancy and postpartum. 

Eiden, PI
Funder: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research


Temperament, Evolving Emotions, and Neuroscience Study (TEENS)

The TEENS project is a longitudinal study aiming to understand the complex systems involved in the development of social anxiety in adolescents.

Buss, PI
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

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