CAFE Projects

Current Projects

Childhood Experiences and Psychophysiology.

The purpose of this study is to examine how young adult's experiences of harsh parenting during childhood and adolescence relate to emotion regulation, attention difficulties, depression, anxiety, anger, aggression, resilience, and physiological functioning as adults.  This project is funded by a grant from the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany.

Life Stress, Aggression, and Psychobiology

The purpose of this study is to examine how experiences in the community, such as exposure to conflict and violence, affect the behavior of children and adolescents. We are especially interested in the roles of autonomic nervous system and HPA axis activity in mediating and/or moderating these effects. We are conducting this study in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady. This project is funded by a grant from the University at Albany’s Faculty Research Award Program, the Graduate Student Organization at University at Albany, and the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany.

Meta-Analysis

We are currently conducting a meta-analysis to examine the relationship between cortisol and aggression.

Family Interactions and the Response to Stress

The purpose of this study was to examine how young adults’ experiences of harsh parenting during childhood and adolescence relate to anger, aggression, depression, anxiety, and interpersonal functioning as adults.  Ari Rabkin wrote his master’s thesis examining the moderating role of autonomic activity in the effect of harsh parenting on depression, and Dr. Christy Olezeski wrote her dissertation examining the roles of beta adrenergic activity, as measured by salivary alpha-amylase, and HPA activity, via salivary cortisol, in effects of harsh parenting on later aggressive behavior.  Honors student Louis Labriola is working on a project examining relations among harsh parents, post traumatic stress symptoms, and affect modulated startle eye blink (as measured electrophysiological via facial EMG).  We are currently preparing manuscripts from this project for publication.

Physical Abuse and Child Aggression: Role of ANS Arousal

This project is a longitudinal investigation of the effect of childhood maltreatment on children’s long term emotional and behavioral development. This study is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Penelope K. Trickett, at the University of Southern California School of Social Work, where data collection occurs. Dr. Gordis’ focus in this study is on the roles of autonomic and HPA axis system activity in the effects of child maltreatment on aggression and other outcomes. Funding for this project was provided by grants awarded to Dr. Gordis (K01 HD 41428 and R03HD56560) and by R01 awards from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute on Drug Abuse to Dr. Trickett by the National Institutes of Health. Results from this project have been published in a number of formats which can be viewed on our publications page.