CAFE Lab Projects

 

Current Projects 

 
 

Family Functioning, Parental Stress and Coping During COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the current pandemic situation and the official recommendations to stay in, quarantine and work from home, many parents are spending a lot more time with their children while coping with different life changes. The impact of this wide range of life-changing factors on parenting and family functioning is unclear. This study aims to investigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on family functioning, parenting practices and coping strategies.

If you are a parent and is above 18 years old, consider participating in our study:

https://albany.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0vqp2ybYN6J0CwZ

 
     
 

Physiology, Emotion, Attention Study

The purpose of our study is to examine how childhood experiences relate to how adults think and behave. We are especially interested in how certain biological systems (measured using respiration sinus arrhythmia (RSA), skin conductance level (SCL), heart rate, and blood pressure) affect current feelings and behavior. Additionally, we intend to examine how attention to the present moment through mindfulness attentional training might impact those biological systems, and subsequently current feelings and behavior. This project is funded by a grant from the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany.
 
     

 

 

 Past Projects

 
     
 

Childhood Experiences and Psychophysiology Study

The purpose of this study was 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 was funded by a grant from the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany.
 
     
 

Life Stress, Aggression, and Psychobiology Study

The purpose of this study was 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 was 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.

 
     
 

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).

 
     
 

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.