Below is a list of our current and past studies:

 Current Studies

Detecting Risk of Youth Depression Project.
PI: Nestor Lopez-Duran

In our Detecting Risk of Youth Depression Project, we are examining the early signs that occur before the onset of depression in children and adolescents who are at familial-risk for depression. Children of parents with a history of depression have a high risk for developing depression before the end of their adolescence. For example, studies have found that up to 40% of children of depressed parents will develop depression by the time they are 20 years old. In addition, depression in adolescence is not always a “transitional” or “temporary” phase, since many children and adolescents who experience depression will continue to experience this condition as adults. For these reasons, it is extremely important to understand how depression develops in children who are at familial-risk. We hope that this research will help us learn how to identify depression as early as possible and create more effective prevention and treatment interventions. Please click here for more information.

Teens and Stress
PI: Elisa Geiss (Doctoral Candidate)

During adolescence the rate of depression increases, which may be related to how teens handle stress. Understanding this process in depth may help us create new treatments that prevent the onset of depression in teens. For this reason, we are studying stress management in teens who have not experienced depression.Please click here for more information.

MPAL Sleep Study.
PI: Ivan Vargas (Doctoral Candidate)

In this study, we are examining the physiological, cognitive, and emotional consequences of sleep deprivation among young adults.

Mood Dysregulation Assessment in Young Children According to Research Domain Criteria.
PI: Ellen McGinnis (Doctoral Candidate)

Summary coming soon…

Examining the Effects of Induced Rumination on HPA-Axis Regulation.
PI: Alexa Shull (Master Student)

In this study, we plan to examine whether rumination after completion of a psychosocial stress task impacts the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) stress response. Atypical HPA-axis recovery is associated with mood disorders such as depression, but the mechanisms that underlie this association are poorly understood. In this study we will examine whether rumination, a common maladaptive cognitive tendency associated with mood disorders, results in the same type of atypical HPA-axis recovery to stress observed in mood disorders. This study will be done by recruiting 120 students over the age of 18 from the University of Michigan using the department of psychology subject pool. The protocol consists of one laboratory visit. This visit will take approximately one and a half hours during which participants will complete questionnaires, a psychosocial stress task, and a rumination task. The questionnaires will assess levels of depressive symptoms, rumination tendencies, emotion regulation, personality, and a variety of demographic factors.

The Impact of Self-Relevant Failures on Cognition, Affect, and Neuroendocrine functioning.
PI: Andew Garton (Undergraduate Honor’s Student)

Individuals routinely pursue personal goals that are tied to their self-concept (Wicklund & Gollwitzer, 1982; Brunstein, 1993). These commitments to self-relevant goals encourage individuals to seek out  opportunities and undertake challenges that support, encourage, and buffer their respective identities (Wicklund & Gollwitzer, 1982). For example, attaining self relevant goals is associated with a greater sense of well-being and contentment (Brunstein, 1993). However, failure, as well as the perception of failure, to achieve desirable outcomes on these self -relevant goals can cause individuals to experience negative affect, such as depressed mood (Moberly & Watkins, 2010), agitation (Hardin and Lakin, 2009), and rumination (Martin & Tesser, 1996). Moreover, the fear of failure can lead to decreased perceptions of self-competence and increased anxiety (Neff, Hsieh, & Dejitterat, 2005). Chronic exposure to failure on self relevant goals is associated with continued distress and the development of mood disorders, such as depression (Strauman, 2002). Yet, not all individuals are negatively affected by self-relevant failures or experience all of the negative outcomes associated with failure. Furthermore, among those who do experience negative outcomes in response to self-relevant failures, the mechanisms by which failure leads to these negative outcomes is unclear. Therefore, in the current study we attempt to shed light on a potential factor that might affect responses to failure, as well as how various psychological and cognitive variables may be affected.

Impact of Weight Based Self-Esteem and Objectification on Risk of Disordered Eating in College Students.
PI: Jillian Bean (Undergraduate Honor’s Students)

It is estimated that between 8-17% of college students suffer from an eating disorder (ED) (Eisenberg, Nicklett, Roeder, & Kirz, 2011), which is associated with significant functional impairment including death (American Psychiatric Association, 2000; Fairburn & Harrison, 2003). Exposure to certain peer contexts during college has shown to raise members’ drive for thinness, and lower their self-esteem (Allison & Park, 2004) and can increase the risk for eating disorders (Basow, Foran, & Bookwala, 2007). However, possessing a low weight based self-esteem (WBSE) can also increase the risk for eating disorders (Fairburn, Cooper, & Shafran, 2003; Vitousek & Hollon, 1990; Trottier, McFarlane, Olmsted, & McCabe, 2013). Yet, little is known about how contexts and personal risk factors interact in the formation of ED in college students. For example, it is unknown if increased risk associated with joining a specific peer contexts is due to exposure to specific environments (e.g., modeling of disordered eating behaviors) or instead is due to personal risk factors present before students join such peer groups. Therefore, in this study we are examining personal and contextual risk factors that predict the development of mood and eating disorders during the transition to college.