Protective Processes among Immigrant Families:
The Impact of Family Coping on Mexican-Origin Children
This project examines the role of family coping in protecting children against immigration stress by promoting positive mental health and the development of adaptive child coping among Mexican-origin families. Further, this study tests how cultural values (familism) might moderate such associations. By employing multiple methods to examine family coping in addition to a longitudinal design, this study builds upon our understanding of risk and protective factors among immigrant families, and the results may inform intervention and prevention efforts. This project includes 100 Mexican-origin immigrant families. Families are asked to provide a parent report of family coping in addition to completing a family observational task. Additional measures include immigration stress, child coping, cultural values, length of time in the U.S., and additional demographics. The results of this multi-method, longitudinal study have the potential to make a significant contribution to the literature, with real-world implications for service-providers working with immigrant families. This project will help to identify protective processes within the Mexican immigrant community and relay knowledge about how to support positive family and child adaptation to immigration stressors to educators, mental health providers, and community agencies. The project works closely with local schools serving immigrant families as well as community agencies to disseminate and apply the findings from this study. This study is funded by the Foundation for Child Development: http://fcd-us.org/our-work/new-american-children.
Daily Stress and Coping among Middle School Students
This project uses daily diary methodology to examine stress, coping, and mood among low-income, Latino middle school students. By studying stress, coping, and mood on a daily basis, this research permits a more nuanced understanding of children's responses to specific stressful events and the impact that various coping strategies has on their moods. Approximately 70 middle school students have been recruited from a local Catholic school. Participants report the stressful events they experience on each of seven consecutive days, as well as their moods and the strategies they employ to cope with these stressors. Participants also complete a set of baseline assessment measures at the beginning of the study to assess family values, family coping strategies, experiences of stress, coping, and mental health. The results of this study will aid the development of prevention and intervention programs for low-income youth.
Bounce Back Replication Study
In collaboration with colleagues from Lurie Children’s and the Cicero School District, we are implementing a replication study and dissemination plan for a newly developed mental health curriculum called Bounce Back (developed by Audra Langley, Ph.D.). Bounce Back is a skill-building program targeted towards children in Kindergarten through second grade who have been exposed to trauma. Bounce Back draws from the evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program. CBITS is an intervention targeted at students aged 8 and older, and has been implemented successfully across the country and in the Chicago Public Schools, and in the Cicero school district. However, there are limited school-based, evidence-informed interventions for younger students exposed to trauma. Bounce Back has the potential improve access to quality care for younger students. The broad aim of this intervention is to meet the needs of urban and primarily low SES and ethnic minority children who may have the highest risk of trauma exposure, yet be the least likely to access care from traditional mental health resources. The developers of Bounce Back have already undertaken a single rigorous randomized control trial of the intervention, which has provided preliminary evidence for its effectiveness. The current study is a replication trial to provide additional evidence of the program’s effectiveness within a different sample, followed by a dissemination plan if results are promising. We plan to support school districts in implementing evidence-based mental health interventions that address trauma by building children’s resilience and coping skills.
A Family Treatment Component: Examining Effects Over Time
This project evaluated family and culturally informed treatment component for low-income Latino children exposed to stress or community violence and participating in the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS). The family component was designed to engage and intervene with parents of children participating in CBITS. To ensure a relevant and engaging intervention for parents, this treatment component was developed through partnerships with community school-based clinicians and Latino parents. The study included a comparison of CBITS as usual to CBITS plus the family treatment component. We had 32 parent/student dyads that received CBITS as usual and 32 parent/student dyads that received CBITS+Family over the course of two waves of intervention and data collection. Our follow-up data collection involved a 6-9 month phone call to assess current child functioning. By collecting this additional data, we will be able to examine whether the family component contributed to better maintenance of symptom improvement long-term compared to CBITS as usual. We predict that engaging and intervening with parents through the family component will contribute to better child outcomes over time. We are also currently meeting with community partners in Chicago to explore the possibility of a larger intervention trial of the family component.