Our Work


Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

PA Adoptees Longitudinal Study (PALS)

PA Adoptees Longitudinal Study (PALS)

Pennsylvania Adoptees Longitudinal Study (PALS) is a developmental study of children adopted from the child welfare system between the ages of 4 and 10. The goal is to identify factors that predict both positive and negative outcomes for these children later in life.

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Brian Allen, Psy.D.
Brian Allen, Psy.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry

Director of Mental Health Services, Center for the Protection of Children

Profile photo for Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.
Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Associate Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Profile photo for Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.
Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Profile photo for Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.
Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network 

Principal Investigator: NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
grant

Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth

Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth

This project extends the forensic sexual assault telehealth model pioneered by Penn State’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center to provide expertise, training, peer review and live telehealth consultation to four new hospital sites that have a deficit in SANE response. 

Research Team

Profile photo for Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.
Sheridan Miyamoto, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Principal Investigator: DOJ/OVC Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

The Child Health Study (CHS)

The Child Health Study (CHS)

The Child Health Study (CHS; Shenk, Co-I) is an NIH-funded (Noll, PI: P50HD089922) state-wide, prospective cohort study examining the impact of child maltreatment on multiple biological systems and subsequent pediatric health. One of my laboratory’s contributions to the CHS is the use of observational methods to quantify caregiver-child dyadic communication and establish how specific patterns of communication are involved in promoting resilience to adverse health following exposure to child maltreatment. Caregivers and their children participating in the CHS (N=500 and counting!) complete three separate interaction tasks designed to promote relationship quality and dyadic problem-solving. Caregiver-child communication is then sampled using a multilevel, intensive longitudinal design, where specific processes are quantified in 30-second epochs to estimate dynamic change within and across tasks. Furthermore, families in the CHS complete waves of data collection every two years with the same three interaction tasks administered at each wave, allowing for inferences about how specific caregiver-child communication patterns change from childhood to adulthood and in response to child maltreatment. Following a deep phenotyping and multiple levels of analysis approach, data obtained from these observational methods will ultimately be included with biological, behavioral, and other environmental mechanisms of adverse health being measured in the CHS, such as structural and functional MRI, genome-wide DNA methylation, immune function, cognitive development, psychiatric function, and more. T32 Fellows will have the opportunity to learn observational methods, quantify dyadic communication processes, and link changes in communication processes to putative mediators and psychiatric outcomes. 

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Chad Shenk, Ph.D.
Chad Shenk, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Profile photo for Christine Heim, Ph.D.
Christine Heim, Ph.D.

Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Profile photo for Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.
Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Profile photo for Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.
Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network 

Principal Investigator: NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

TechnoTeens

TechnoTeens

TechnoTeens is a NICHD R01-funded study where we are objectively tracking the internet and social media behaviors of 460 sexually abused and comparison teens longitudinally from age 12 to 15. This study aims to articulate the role of internet pornography and high-risk social media behaviors on sexual development and on internet-initiated victimization (including sexual exploitation, cyber bullying, “slut-shaming”, and sex-trafficking). This is the first study to objectively monitor internet activity and social media behaviors and to record and quantify adolescents’ “internet and social media footprints” in real-time. Results will inform internet safety campaigns for normative and at-risk teens.

Research Team

Profile photo for Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.
Jennie G. Noll, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network 

Principal Investigator: NICHD P50 Capstone Center for Healthy Children

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Early Psychosocial Intervention and Parent and Child Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Early Psychosocial Intervention and Parent and Child Cardiovascular Disease Risk

This project focuses on the assessment of cardiovascular disease risk among 7-8 year old children and their parents part of an ongoing intervention trial evaluating the impact of a perinatal coparenting intervention (Family Foundations; PI: Mark Feinberg). We are following up with the original sample of 399 first-time parents and their children who were recruited across several states. This will allow us to investigate psychosocial pathways within the family that influence cardiovascular disease risk as well as potential intervention effects of Family Foundations on parent and child cardiovascular disease risk.

Research Team

Profile photo for Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.
Hannah M. C. Schreier, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Biological embedding of early-life experiences: How early-life experiences impact childhood development and can accelerate aging

Biological embedding of early-life experiences: How early-life experiences impact childhood development and can accelerate aging

A project funded by the Sara van Dam Foundation (Roseriet Beijers, Radboud University, Netherlands PI, Shalev Co-I). Its aim is to test early-life factors associated with children’s socio-emotional development, cognition, and pubertal development. This includes biological-embedding mechanisms underlying this link. These research questions are being investigated in the Dutch BIBO-study (Basal Influences on the Baby Development): a prospective study in which 193 mothers and their children are followed from pregnancy until the last assessment at age 10. My lab is conducting all telomere length testing in children at both age 6 and 10.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

project

Complex interactions of behavior, genes, and environment in the multi-system characterization of the effects of sleep loss on health, cardio-metabolic disease risk, cognition, and the epigenome

Complex interactions of behavior, genes, and environment in the multi-system characterization of the effects of sleep loss on health, cardio-metabolic disease risk, cognition, and the epigenome

The aim of this project is to comprehensively characterize cardio-metabolic, cognitive, genomic, and epigenetic effects of sleep insufficiency in a controlled laboratory setting. My lab assist with the collection and sorting of blood samples for DNA methylation and whole-genome expression analysis. For this study, we are further investigating specific type of cells including monocytes and lymphocytes.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Intergenerational transmission of trauma? Testing cellular aging in mothers exposed to sexual abuse and their children

Intergenerational transmission of trauma? Testing cellular aging in mothers exposed to sexual abuse and their children

The overarching goal is to test the hypothesis of intergenerational transmission of trauma by measuring cellular aging in both mothers and children, members of the Female Growth and Development Study. Specifically, we are testing telomere length in mothers exposed to sexual abuse, control mothers, and their children.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

Temporal genomics mechanisms underlying disease and aging

Temporal genomics mechanisms underlying disease and aging

The goal of this project is to identify genomic mechanisms involved in young adults’ response to stress, as moderated by early adversity. Specifically, we are testing whether individuals exposed to early-life adversity show dysregulated changes in gene expression in response to a well-established laboratory stressor, compared with a no-stress condition, and compared with individuals without exposure to early adversity.

Research Team

Profile photo for Idan Shalev, Ph.D.
Idan Shalev, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for the Study of Children's Health and Development

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
publication

Physical health and foster youth

Physical health and foster youth

 

publication

Untangling the relative contribution of maltreatment severity and frequency to type of behavioral outcome in foster youth

Untangling the relative contribution of maltreatment severity and frequency to type of behavioral outcome in foster youth

 

publication

Child maltreatment, trauma, and physical health outcomes: The role of abuse type and placement moves on health conditions and service use for youth in foster care

Child maltreatment, trauma, and physical health outcomes: The role of abuse type and placement moves on health conditions and service use for youth in foster care

 

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
publication

Coregulation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia between parents and preschoolers: Differences by children’s externalizing problems

Coregulation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia between parents and preschoolers: Differences by children’s externalizing problems

 

publication

Breaking down the coercive cycle: How parent and child risk factors influence real-time variability in parental responses to child misbehavior

Breaking down the coercive cycle: How parent and child risk factors influence real-time variability in parental responses to child misbehavior

 

publication

Assessing biobehavioural self-regulation and coregulation in early childhood: The Parent-Child Challenge Task

Assessing biobehavioural self-regulation and coregulation in early childhood: The Parent-Child Challenge Task

 

publication

Harsh parenting, child behavior problems, and the dynamic coupling of parents’ and children’s positive behaviors

Harsh parenting, child behavior problems, and the dynamic coupling of parents’ and children’s positive behaviors

 

grant

Parent-Child Biobehavioral Coregulation and Child Maltreatment Risk

Parent-Child Biobehavioral Coregulation and Child Maltreatment Risk

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.
Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Associate Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

grant

Dynamic Coupling of Parental Biobehavioral Regulation and Discipline

Dynamic Coupling of Parental Biobehavioral Regulation and Discipline

 

Research Team

Profile photo for Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.
Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Associate Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State
project

PaRenting in Stressful Moments (PRISM)

PaRenting in Stressful Moments (PRISM)

PRISM is a pilot project involves studying how parents control their emotions, behaviors, and heart rate when disciplining their preschoolers. This project is designed to test methods for the capture of biological data using wearable technology in the home and using a phone app to collect information on discipline and stress. Our interest is in understanding how parents regulate themselves while disciplining their children so that we may learn how to better intervene with parents to reduce stress and prevent harsh discipline and physical abuse of children.

Research Team

Profile photo for Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.
Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Associate Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

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