I am currently a doctoral student Clinical Psychology and a MPSI Predoctoral Fellow with a focus in developmental psychopathology and statistics. My research focuses broadly on the resilient and multidimensional (neurological, biological, psychosocial, etc.) development of children and young people who have experienced trauma, community stressors, and demographic and associated risks (e.g. racism, poverty, medical conditions). In addition to my research pursuits, I work clinically with children, adolescents and families in outpatient, community, integrative health settings.
The Protective Role of Parenting Behaviors in the Development of Urban, Impoverished African American Adolescents
September 22, 2017
Research has found that young people of minority status growing up in impoverished urban environments experience a great deal of poverty- and minority- related adversity, seen through exposure to high rates of a broad array of stressors, including poor neighborhood conditions, directly experiencing violence, crime, maltreatment, family stress, poor quality housing, and lack of access to community resources compared to children living in more advantaged areas (Deardorff, Gonzales, & Sandler, 2003; Grant, Compas, Stuhmacher, Thurm, McMahon, & Halpert 2003; Santiago, Wadsworth, & Stump, 2011; Wickrama & Bryant, 2003). The accumulation of such threats increase youths’ risk for and amplify the effects of negative personal stressors on the development of psychological problems (Cutrona, Wallace, & Wesner, 2006). Despite these risks, many youth exhibit resilient development and grow up into healthy and well-adjusted adults. Research has attempted to pin point different factors which may act as protective mechanisms in the face of traumatic and stressful experiences, one of specific interest is a parent’s influence on his or her children.
My dissertation study aims to understand how African American parents protect their teens from developing internalizing and externalizing problems in the face of extreme adversity. Given the high level of adversity experienced by many inner-city, impoverished and minority young people, it is of the upmost importance to research protective factors against the development of psychopathology. Moreover, this work is aimed at informing future intervention and prevention strategies to further promote well-being among at-risk children and adolescents.
This study will examine three dimensions of parenting behavior, stress, and behavior problems to understand the direct and moderating relations between parenting behaviors, cumulative stress exposure and youth internalizing, externalizing, and total psychological problems. By recruiting and interviewing 140 inner-city African American adolescents and their primary caregivers, the proposed study aims to make a unique contribution to the field by understanding how parents can protect at-risk youth. Furthermore, this study will attempt to improve on past measurement concerns in the parenting literature by using a behaviorally-based measure of parenting behavior and exploring how methodological issues may have contributed to varying conclusions about parenting young people of different ethnic backgrounds.