All children face challenges as they grow up. The Family Studies Lab is interested in understanding why some children progress through development with healthy emotional functioning whereas others develop mental health problems such as depression. We use an integrative, multi-level approach to understand both the origins and consequences of individual differences in risk and resilience across many domains (cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, biological, contextual). Reflecting this integrative approach, our research applies multiple methods, including longitudinal survey research, interviews, behavioral observations, experimental tasks, hormone assessments, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Our ultimate mission is to figure out how to maximize youths' potential to live emotionally healthy and fulfilling lives.
Projects are conducted as part of a training program for graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Illinois. Our research has been funded by a variety of sources, including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Cattell Foundation, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and the University of Illinois.