Our research examines how environmental experiences influence emotional, cognitive, and neurobiological development throughout childhood and adolescence. The primary goal of this research is to understand how adverse early environments shape developmental processes in ways that increase risk for psychopathology and contribute to health disparities. Our research aims to uncover specific developmental processes that are altered by adverse environmental experiences early in life and determines how those alterations increase risk for mental health problems in children and adolescents. Understanding these mechanisms is critical for the development of interventions to prevent the onset of psychopathology in children who experience adversity.

We pursue these research questions using interdisciplinary methods drawn from clinical and developmental psychology, psychiatric epidemiology, psychophysiology, and cognitive neuroscience. This interdisciplinary approach is critical to understanding the complex relationships between social context, trajectories of child development, and mental health.

Our work on childhood adversity has been featured in NPR and The New York Times.  See Dr. Katie A. McLaughlin, Lab Director, discussing our research at the University of Washingtonat the Grand Rounds at Massachusetts General Hospitaland talking about strategies for managing stress for the Outsmarting Human Minds project at Harvard University. See Dr. Joshua Gordon, the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, discussing our research.