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Network Researchers

  • Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Research Interests:

Primary research foci are (1) the bio-psycho-social consequences of childhood sexual abuse, (2) pathways to teen pregnancy and high-risk sexual behaviors for abused and neglected youth, (3) the long-term adverse health outcomes for victims of sexual abuse, including HPA dysregulation, cognitive deficits, various cancers, immunodeficiencies, healthcare utilization, diabetes and obesity, (4) midlife reversibility of neurocognitive deficits in stress-exposed populations, and (5) the propensity for abused and neglected teens to engage in high-risk internet and social media behaviors.

Selected Pubs:
  • Noll JG, Trickett PK, Putnam FW. A prospective investigation of the impact of childhood sexual abuse on the development of sexuality. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2003 Jun;71(3):575–586. PubMed PMID:  12795580; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3012425.

  • Noll JG. Sexual abuse of children—unique in its effects on development? Child Abuse Negl. 2008 Jun;32(6):603–605. PubMed PMID: 18562000.

  • Noll JG, Shenk CE. Introduction to the special issue: the physical health consequences of childhood maltreatment—implications for public health. J Pediatr Psychol. 2010 Jun;35(5):447–449. PubMed PMID: 20231257.

  • Trickett PK, Noll JG, Putnam FW. The impact of sexual abuse on female development: lessons from a multigenerational, longitudinal research study. Dev Psychopathol. 2011 May;23(2):453–476. PubMed PMID: 23786689; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3693773

  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Research Interests:

Primary research foci are (1) research on the developmental impact of child maltreatment, (2) ways to improve the clinician-researcher dialogue, (3) the implementation of evidence-based treatments, and (4) children with sexual behavior problems.

Selected Pubs:
  • Allen, B., Cisneros, E. M., & Tellez, A. (2015). The children left behind: The impact of parental deportation on mental health. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 386-392.

    Allen, B., Timmer, S. G., & Urquiza, A. J. (2014). Parent-Child Interaction Therapy as an attachment-based intervention: Theoretical rationale and pilot data with adopted children. Children and Youth Services Review, 47, 334-341.     

    Allen, B., Wilson, K. L., & Armstrong, N. E. (2014). Changing clinicians’ beliefs about treatment for children experiencing trauma: The impact of intensive training in an evidence-based, trauma-focused treatment.  Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, & Policy, 6, 384-389.  

    Allen, B., Tellez, A., Wevodau, A., Woods, C. L., & Percosky, A. (2014). The impact of sexual abuse committed by a child on mental health in adulthood. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29, 2257-2272.

  • Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
Research Interests:

Primary research foci: (1) individual, family, and contextual risk and protective processes that impact child behavioral health and wellbeing following incidents of maltreatment, child welfare system contact, or other traumatic experiences; (2) evaluation of community-level evidence-informed efforts to prevent or treat the negative effects of maltreatment and other traumatic experiences in children and adolescents; and (3) use of administrative data systems to inform child welfare system practice and policy initiatives.

Selected Pubs:
  • Connell, C.M., Bergeron, N., Katz, K.H., Saunders, L., & Tebes, J.K. Re-referral to Child Protective Services: The influence of child, family, and case characteristics on risk status. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31, 573-588, 2007.

  • Connell, C.M., Vanderploeg, J.J., Caron, C., Saunders, L., Katz, K.H., & Tebes, J.K. Maltreatment following reunification: Predictors of subsequent CPS contact after children return home. Child Abuse and Neglect, 33, 218-228, 2009.

  • Lang, J.M., Campbell, K., Shanley, P., Crusto, C.A., & Connell, C.M. Building capacity for trauma-informed care in the child welfare system: Initial results of a statewide implementation. Child Maltreatment, 2, 113-124, 2016.

  • Lang, J. & Connell, C.M. Development and validation of a brief trauma screening measure for children: The Child Trauma Screen. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9, 390-398, 2017.

Sarah Font, Ph.D.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology
Research Interests:

My research seeks to understand the individual, familial, community, and system factors that promote or inhibit immediate and later life success among children and youth who experience maltreatment or foster care placement. I am specifically interested in how the policies and priorities of the child welfare system serve the interests of children and families, the role of social disadvantage in child maltreatment, and the measurement of child welfare outcomes.

Selected Pubs:
  • Font, Sarah A., and Jamie Cage. 2017. “Dimensions of Physical Punishment and Their Associations with Children's Cognitive Performance and School Adjustment.” 2017. Child Abuse & Neglect [in press]. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.06.008

  • Berger, Lawrence M., Sarah A. Font, Kristen S. Slack, and Jane Waldfogel. 2017. “Income and Child Maltreatment in Unmarried Families: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit.” Review of Economics of the Household 15(4): 1345-1372. doi: 10.1007/s11150-016-9346-9

  • Font, Sarah A, and Kathryn Maguire-Jack. 2015. “Decision-Making in Child Protective Services: Influences at Multiple Levels of the Social Ecology.” Child Abuse & Neglect 47(September):70-82. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.02.005

  • Font, Sarah A. 2015. “Is Higher Placement Stability in Kinship Care By Virtue or Design?” Child Abuse & Neglect 42(April):99-111. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.01.003

  • Font, Sarah A. 2014. “Kinship and Nonrelative Foster Care: The Effect of Placement Type on Child Well-Being.” Child Development 85(5):2074-2090.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Research Interests:

Primary research focus is to employ a multi-level longitudinal approach to integrating developmental and clinical data with functional and structural neuroimaging, endocrine and immune measures, and molecular genetics to further elucidate the role of child maltreatment in the development of complex psychiatric and medical disorders.

Selected Pubs:
  • Heim C, Newport DJ, Heit S, Graham YP, Wilcox M, Bonsall R, Miller AH, Nemeroff CB. Pituitary- adrenal and autonomic responses to stress in adult women with sexual and physical abuse in childhood. JAMA 2000;284:592–7

    Heim C, Plotsky PM, Nemeroff CB. The importance of studying the contributions of early adverse experience to the neurobiology of depression. Neuropsychopharmacology 2004;29:641–8. 

    Heim C, Mayberg HS, Mletzko T, Nemeroff CB, Pruessner JC. Decreased cortical representation of genital somatosensory field after childhood sexual abuse. Am J Psychiatry 2013;170:616–23. 

    Klengel T, Mehta D, Anacker C, Rex-Haffner M, Pruessner JC, Pariante CM, Pace, TW, Mercer KB, Mayberg HS, Bradley B, Nemeroff CB, Holsboer F, Heim CM, Ressler KJ, Rein T, Binder EB. Allele- specific DNA demethylation in FKBP5: a molecular mediator of gene x childhood trauma interactions. Nat Neurosci 2013;16:33–41.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Child Abuse Pediatrician
Research Interests:

Primary focus on child physical abuse evaluation, with an emphasis on developing improved methods for screening for abusive head trauma.

Selected Pubs:
  • Jenny C, Hymel KP, Ritzen A, Reinert SE, Hay TC. Analysis of missed cases of abusive head trauma. JAMA. 1999 Feb 17;281(7):621–6. PubMed PMID: 10029123.

    Hymel KP, Willson DF, Boos SC, Pullin DA, Homa K, Lorenz DJ, Herman BE, Graf JM, Isaac R, Armijo- Garcia V, Narang SK. Pediatric Brain Injury Research Netowrk (PediBIRN) Investigators. Derivation of a clinical prediction rule for pediatric abusive head trauma. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2013 Feb;14(2):210–20. PubMed PMID: 23314183.

    Hymel KP, Armijo-Garcia V, Foster R, Frazier TN, Stoiko M, Christie LM, Harper NS, Weeks K, Carroll CL, Hyden P, Sirotnak A, Truemper E, Ornstein AE, Wang M. Validation of a clinical prediction rule for pediatric abusive head trauma. Pediatrics. 2014 Dec;134(6):e1537–44. PubMed PMID: 25404722.

    Dubowitz H, Christian CW, Hymel K, Kellogg ND. Forensic medical evaluations of child maltreatment: a proposed research agenda. Child Abuse Negl. 2014 Nov;38(11):1734–46. PubMed PMID: 25224781.

Yo Jackson, Ph.D., ABPP

  • Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Professor in the Department of Psychology
Research Interests:
Selected Pubs:
  • Gabrielli, J., Jackson, Y., Tunno, A. M., & Hambrick, E. P. (in press). The blind men and the elephant: Identification of a latent maltreatment construct in youth in foster care. Child Abuse & Neglect.

  • Gusler, S., & Jackson, Y. (in press). The role of poly-victimization in predicting differences in youths' appraisals. Child Abuse & Neglect.

  • Jackson, Y., Huffhines, L., Stone, K. J., Fleming, K., & Gabrielli, J. (in press). Coping styles in youth exposed to maltreatment: Longitudinal patterns reported by youth in foster care. Child Abuse & Neglect.

  • McGuire, A., Gillath, O., Jackson, Y., & Ingram, R. (in press). Attachment security priming as a potential intervention for depressive symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

  • Vossoughi, N., Jackson, Y, Gusler, S., & Stone, K. (in press). Mental health outcomes for youth living in refugee camps: A review. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse.

Erika Lunkenheimer, Ph.D.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology
Research Interests:

Erika S. Lunkenheimer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and an Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Dr. Lunkenheimer's research program revolves around risk and protective processes in the parent-child relationship, with the dual goals of (1) understanding how mother-child and father-child interaction patterns contribute to developmental psychopathology in children and (2) uncovering malleable relational and biological processes that could inform the tailoring of preventive intervention programs for families at risk for child maltreatment. Grounded in dynamic systems theory and using dynamic time series analytic approaches, Dr. Lunkenheimer studies the moment-to-moment coordination of physiology, goal-oriented behaviors, and emotions between parents and young children and its role in the development of child maltreatment, as well as its association with maltreatment risk factors (e.g., harsh parenting, parent mental health symptoms and stress, children’s behavior problems) and protective factors (e.g., positive parenting, children’s self-regulation, resilience).

Selected Pubs:
  • Lunkenheimer, E., Busuito, A., Brown, K. M., & Skowron, E. A. (2018). Mother-child coregulation of parasympathetic processes differs by child maltreatment severity and subtype. Child Maltreatment. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1077559517751672

  • Lunkenheimer, E., Tiberio, S. S., Skoranski, A. M., Buss, K. A., & Cole, P. M. (2018). Parent-child coregulation of parasympathetic processes varies by social context and risk for psychopathology. Psychophysiology, 55(2). doi: 10.1111/psyp.12985

  • Lunkenheimer, E., Ram, N., Skowron, E., & Yin, P. (2017). Harsh parenting, child behavior problems, and the dynamic coupling of parents’ and children’s positive behaviors. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(6), 689-698. doi: 10.1037/fam0000310

  • Lunkenheimer, E., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., Hollenstein, T., Kemp, C. J., & Granic, I. (2016). Breaking down the coercive cycle: How parent and child risk factors influence real-time variability in parental responses to child misbehavior. Parenting: Science and Practice, 16(4), 237-256. doi: 10.1080/15295192.2016.1184925 

  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of College of Nursing
Research Interests:

Primary research foci are (1) utilizing administrative databases to improve the identification of families at risk of maltreatment, (2) using telehealth to improve forensic care for children in rural communities; and (3) creating tools to improve health and relationship behaviors for victims of maltreatment.

Selected Pubs:
  • Miyamoto, S., Dharmar, M., Boyle, C., Yang, N. H., MacLeod, K., Rogers, K., Nesbitt, T., Marcin, J. P. (2014). Impact of telemedicine on the quality of forensic sexual abuse examinations in rural communities. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(9), 1533–1539. Retrieved from http://ac.els- cdn.com/S014521341400146X/1-s2.0-S014521341400146X-main.pdf?_tid=ea573cde-7d20-11e5- 90e3-00000aab0f01&acdnat=1446001782_d40f09b3d82d839d14541f076e2bba30

    MacLeod, K. J., Marcin, J. P., Boyle, C., Miyamoto, S., Dimand, R. J., & Rogers, K. K. (2009). Using telemedicine to improve the care delivered to sexually abused children in rural, underserved hospitals. Pediatrics, 123(1), 223–228. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-1921

    Miyamoto S, Boyle C, Yang NH, Marcin J, Dharmar M. (2013). Evaluation of telehealth to support pediatric sexual abuse examinations in rural communities. JournalofInvestigativeMedicine,61.

    Miyamoto, S., Henderson, S., Young, H.M., Pande, A., Han, J.J. (2016). Data are not enough: Understanding sustained engagement in mobile health technology to support health behavior change. JMIR mHealth and uHealth

  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Education
Research Interests:

Primary research foci are (1) understanding the developmental trajectories of school readiness domains (i.e., emotion regulation and language) across the preschool years for maltreated children, (2) understanding how child welfare-specific context factors of placement stability and caregiver quality at different time points influence development, and (3) understanding how these different developmental trajectories predict later academic achievement.

Selected Pubs:
  • Jones Harden, B., Duncan, A. D., Morrison, C. I., Panlilio, C., & Clyman, R. B. (2015). Compliance and internalization in preschool foster children. Children and Youth Services Review, 55, 103 – 110.

    Lanier, P., Maguire-Jack, K., Mienko, J., & Panlilio, C. (2015). From causes to outcomes: Determining prevention can work. In D. Daro, A. C. Donnelly, L. A. Huang, & B. Powell (Eds.). Advances in Child Abuse Prevention Knowledge: The Perspective of New Leadership. New York, NY: Springer.

    Dierkhising, C., Geiger, J. M., Hurst, T., Panlilio, C., & Schelbe, L. (2015). Preventing adolescent maltreatment: A focus on child welfare, juvenile justice, and sexual exploitation. In D. Daro, A. C. Donnelly, L. A. Huang, & B. Powell (Eds.). Advances in Child Abuse Prevention Knowledge: The Perspective of New Leadership. New York, NY: Springer.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Research Interests:

Primary research foci are (1) the relation between adverse social experiences and youth physiological outcomes, such as markers of chronic inflammation and stimulated immune responses, with the potential to influence long-term health trajectories, and (2) exploring the use of social interventions to actively improve physiological outcomes among adolescents.

Selected Pubs:
  • Schreier HMC, Roy LB, Frimer LT, Chen E. Family Chaos and Adolescent Inflammatory Profiles. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2014;76(6):460–467. doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000000078.

    Schreier HMC, Schonert-Reichl KA, Chen E. Effect of Volunteering on Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Adolescents. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(4):327–6. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.1100.

    Schreier HMC, Enlow MB, Ritz T, Gennings C, Wright RJ. Childhood abuse is associated with increased hair cortisol levels among urban pregnant women. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. July 2015:jech–2015–205541–6. doi:10.1136/jech-2015-205541.

    Schreier HMC, Chen E. Socioeconomic status and the health of youth: A multilevel, multidomain approach to conceptualizing pathways. Psychological Bulletin. 2013;139(3):606–654. doi:10.1037/a0029416.

  • Network Faculty member
  • Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Research Interests:

Primary research foci are (1) testing the effects of stress during childhood on change in telomere length and other biomarkers of aging across the life course, (2) the consequences of change in telomere length for physical and mental health problems, and (3) temporal differences in gene expression and epigenetic changes in response to environmental stressors in the lab, as moderated by early life stress.

Selected Pubs:
  • Shalev I, Lerer E, Israel S, Uzefovsky F, Gritsenko I, Mankuta D, Ebstein RP, Kaitz M. (2009). BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is associated with HPA axis reactivity to psychological stress characterized by genotype and gender interactions. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(3):382–8.

    Shalev I, Israel S, Uzefovsky F, Gritsenko I, Kaitz M, Ebstein RP. (2011). Vasopressin needs an audience: neuropeptide elicited stress responses are contingent upon perceived social evaluative threats. Hormones and Behavior, 60(1):121–7.

    Feldman R, Zagoory-Sharon O, Weisman O, Schneiderman I, Gordon I, Maoz R, Shalev I, Ebstein RP. (2012). Sensitive parenting is associated with plasma oxytocin and polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and CD38 genes. Biological Psychiatry, 1;72(3):175–81. 

    Shalev I. and Ebstein RP (Eds.). Social Hormones and Human Behavior: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go from Here. Frontiers in Neuroscience. ISSN 1664-8714. ISBN 978-2-88919-407-0. DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-407-0 (2015).

  • Network Faculty member
  • Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Research Interests:

Primary research foci are (1) examining the longitudinal pathways from child maltreatment to the onset of adverse health outcomes in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood using both experimental and observational research to identify the mechanisms of various outcomes present in the child maltreatment population across multiple levels of analysis (e.g. psychological, biological, familial) and develop novel prevention programs and optimize existing clinical interventions by targeting putative risk and protective mechanisms more directly and effectively, and (2) identifying the epigenetic contributions of child maltreatment on subsequent psychiatric disorders and developing a selective prevention program for children recently experiencing maltreatment.

Selected Pubs:
  • Shenk CE, Dorn LD, Kolko DJ, Rausch JR, Insana SP. Prior exposure to interpersonal violence and long-term treatment response for boys with a disruptive behavior disorder. J Trauma Stress. 2014 Oct;27(5):585–92. PubMed PMID: 25270151.

    Noll JG, Shenk CE, Yeh MT, Ji J, Putnam FW, Trickett PK. Receptive language and educational attainment for sexually abused females. Pediatrics. 2010 Sep;126(3):e615–22. PubMed PMID:  20696731; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3690582

    De Bellis MD, Hooper SR, Woolley DP, Shenk CE. Demographic, maltreatment, and neurobiological correlates of PTSD symptoms in children and adolescents. J Pediatr Psychol. 2010 Jun;35(5):570–7. PubMed PMID: 20008084; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2910943

    Shenk CE, Noll JG, Cassarly JA. A multiple mediational test of the relationship between childhood maltreatment and non-suicidal self-injury. J Youth Adolesc. 2010 Apr;39(4):335–42. PubMed PMID:  19798560; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2977983.

National Datasets

NDCAN Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect

Follow the growth of children into young adults in order to learn what factors lead to increased maltreatment risk, the consequences of maltreatment, factors that increase likelihood of positive outcomes in spite of abuse and the strengths and shortcomings of various social programs in aiding children.

National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW)

Read about child and family well-being outcomes in this longitudinal survey of families who have been subjects of CPS investigations. The study provides information on different patterns and risks presented in its subject families.

National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS)

Access data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico on instances of child abuse and neglect.