Clinical Psychology Research Labs
The Behavioral Alcohol Research for Clinical Advancement lab (BARCA) conducts laboratory and survey research on processes involved in alcohol-related problems including alcohol use disorders. Laboratory-based studies are conducted in a simulated bar on the Arizona State University campus, the BARCA Lounge. Participants are administered alcohol and then observed in this quasi-naturalistic setting. Survey studies are designed to track drinking and other risky behaviors longitudinally to identify risk and protective factors for the development of related problems. The goal of both types of studies is to better inform prevention and intervention efforts.The BARCA lab will continue to apply the knowledge gained through experimental and longitudinal studies to the prevention and treatment of addictive behaviors.
We study the dynamic role of culture in children’s development; academic and psychological well-being; and resilience across the lifespan from birth to young adulthood. We define culture through multiple dimensions and at multiple levels including: ethnicity and national heritage; gender; social class; cultural values; family processes; community context; and the unique experiences that are shaped by these interacting forces.
Our research is especially motivated by our interest and expertise in the growing U.S. Latino population, and the valuable opportunity that our Southwestern borderland offers to conduct research with Mexican Americans.
Our CHALLENGE is to:
- Integrate meaningful aspects of culture in research on child, adolescent, and young adult development.
- Inform policies and programs that reduce social, academic, and health disparities.
- Develop, evaluate, and disseminate programs and practices that work.
Under Dr. Perez’s guidance, undergraduate and doctoral students explore the genetic, biological, psychophysiological, cultural, and environmental underpinnings of eating behavior in its development towards unhealthy lifestyles. We continuously translate our basic science research into clinical applications that can improve the health and quality of life of people.
Specifically at ASU, we have launched the Body Project. The Body Project is a cognitive-dissonance based body acceptance program that's designed to help young women resist societal pressures to be unrealistically thin. This program has been heavily tested for over 10 years and has been found to reduce thin ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, and unhealthy behaviors related to eating disorders and obesity. It was developed with undergraduate women, is run by undergraduate women, and is for undergraduate woman. The undergraduate women who run the program are called peer leaders, and undergo extensive training in the program while building essential leadership skills necessary for any career.
The Emotion Regulation and Health Lab works to understand how emotional and social aspects of life affect how people adapt to the challenges of chronic stressors, including chronic pain.
The research areas we are most interested in include:
- Mindfulness-based approaches to improving emotion regulation in chronic pain. Can learning to simply pay attention to what’s happening in the moment, without judging it, help improve mood, coping, and day-to-day health?
- The physical health effects of childhood trauma. Early adversity sets the stage for health problems later in life. What are the psychological, social, and physiological mechanisms driving the adversity-health relation?
- Affectionate touch, mood, and stress responses. Touch can be one means of mitigating the effects of stress. How does that happen? Is it true for everyone?
- Sources of resilience that offset the demands of stress. We are often inclined to focus on factors that make individuals vulnerable to stress. Yet vulnerable individuals also have strengths. What are key strengths, like feeling loved, that can protect individuals from the negative effects of adversity, like pain?
- How is chronic pain transmitted from parents to children? Having a parent with chronic pain increases the risk that a child will develop chronic pain as well. What are the psychological, environmental, and biological mechanisms that can explain these relations?
Research conducted in The Health and Coping Lab examines developmental, cultural, and cognitive influences on stress, coping, and physical health. Our primary areas of focus include women’s health, infant health and development in low resource environments, mediators of physiological stress responses, and the influence of childhood adversity on biological stress systems and physical health in adulthood.
Research in the Karoly Lab is focused on the application of the Goal-Centered, Self-Regulatory, Automated, Social Systems Psychology (GRASSP) model in health psychology (pain) and psychopathology, especially subclinical forms of externalizing and internalizing disorders. Current projects include: (a) the study of the effects of experimentally-induced pain on aspects of cognitive control, (b) the study of goal framing on adjustment in young adults (college students) considered to be at risk for various forms of psychopathology, and (c) the continued development of questionnaires designed to assess key components of goal-guided self-regulation. In addition, Dr. Karoly is occupied with the completion of theoretical papers and texts that explain and elaborate the GRASSP model.
The Chassin lab conducts research on developmental pathways of risk and resilience from childhood to adulthood. Our projects include longitudinal studies of the origins of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and the mechanisms through which these behaviors are transmitted across multiple generations.
The primary goal of Dr. Wolchik’s research is to advance our understanding of vulnerability and resilience among at-risk youths. Over the last 25 years, she has conducted research to identify the modifiable individual- and family-level processes that promote positive adaptation to parental divorce or parental death. She has developed empirically-based interventions to prevent the onset and/or exacerbation of problem outcomes for youths who experience these family disruptions. Randomized experimental trials have shown significant benefits of these programs on a wide array of mental and physical health outcomes. Short- and long-term follow-up studies have shown that these positive effects last up to 15 years after participation.
We seek to understand the causes, course, and consequences of problematic substance use through longitudinal epidemiological and case-control studies. Current research projects include (1) understanding links between cannabis use, psychotic-like experiences, and vascular health; (2) documenting the prevalence and correlates of vaping marijuana among college students; and (3) testing whether older adult marijuana users show neuropsychological impairment and functional impairment in everyday life.
Affiliated Developmental Faculty
The @Heart lab is a multidisciplinary lab using a multilevel perspective to study the development of romantic relationships and adjustment. We combine longitudinal dyadic assessments with several direct observation methods, experimental methodologies, ecological momentary assessments, salivary biomarkers, heart rate variability and high-density array EEG neurocognitive assessments.
Drawing from developmental psychopathology and biopsychosocial theoretical frameworks, we utilize methods that incorporate self-report and physiological measures (ranging from hormone levels to sleep quality) in naturalistic settings using ecological momentary assessment. Our overarching goal is to understand how day-to-day experiences ranging from loneliness to coping behavior get under the skin to influence physical and mental health outcomes.
Dr. Pina studies factors responsible for the developmental course of anxiety in children and adolescents by using basic science approaches and developing interventions that test theoretical mechanisms implicated in child and family change. For more details about Dr. Pina's work and research, please visit his website at drarmandopina.org.