LEARS is a genetic case-control association study (N=100) examining the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms associated with the onset of psychiatric disorders in the child maltreatment population. Children between the ages of 8 and 15 years of age who have experienced substantiated child maltreatment participated in this study. Biospecimens (oral fluid, buccal swab) collected in this study are being used to generate estimates of variation in DNA and DNA methylation to predict the course and severity of psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses obtained from a structured psychiatric interview. Results from this study will provide insight into the genetic, epigenetic, and psychological contributions for these disorders in the child maltreatment population so that interventions targeting these processes can be developed or applied more effectively.
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies