My research focuses on understanding links between children’s close relationships and their social and academic adjustment. I am particularly interested in the role of children’s peer experiences in their adjustment during middle childhood and early adolescence. Currently, I am involved with two major research projects.
Children’s Adjustment and Relationships in School
The CARS project is a collaborative study involving faculty and students at Rollins College, Rhodes College, and the University of Memphis. In the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010, we collected data on children’s relational experiences and school adjustment in the upper-elementary school grades in Orlando and Memphis using multi-informant reports (i.e., from teachers, peers and students) and multiple methods (i.e., surveys and personal narratives). Currently, I am working on several papers from this study including one on patterns of children’s conflict negotiation, and another on children’s use of idiomatic and colloquial language in their narratives about peer conflict. Twelve Rollins undergraduate and graduate students have been involved with this research through my advanced developmental psychology class, independent study, honors research, and/or my research team.
The Rollins Project for Healthy Students
In 2010, I began collaborating with Dr. Steven St. John at Rollins and Dr. Kurt Thaw at Millsaps to study the association between the length of school lunch periods and various child obesity indicators, including BMI, body fat percentage, and waist circumference. During the 2010 – 2011 academic year, we collected observational, anthropometric and survey data (including children’s reports of their friends at school) from approximately 2,000 students in 7 elementary schools and high schools in central Florida and in Jackson, Mississippi. The RPHS is an ongoing project that, to date, has involved 12 Rollins undergraduate students.