In the Laboratory for Risk and Treatment Studies (LabRATS), we conduct research exploring processes related to perinatal well-being and psychopathology. The “perinatal period” encompasses pregnancy and the first year postpartum. Many individuals experience distress during the transition to parenthood, which can have important implications for their well-being, as well as that of their partners and children. Our goal is to promote individual and family well-being through a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of distress in this population and furthering our knowledge of characteristics associated with effective treatments.
Current Research Projects
We currently have active research in several related areas:
Cognitive Risk Factors for Perinatal Psychopathology
One of the lab’s primary areas of research is the way that people think about parenthood and how this influences their experiences when they become parents. In addition to studying risk factors for individual distress, we are interested in understanding how individual and partner characteristics contribute to couple’s relationship satisfaction and parents’ relationships with their infants during the early postpartum period.
Meta-Analytic Evaluations of the Efficacy of Treatments for Perinatal Populations
We use meta-analysis to investigate characteristics of effective treatments for perinatal populations. The LabRATS are currently conducting a new meta-analysis investigating whether interventions for perinatal populations have benefits beyond treating symptoms of psychopathology.
Consequences of Perinatal Psychopathology
We are also interested in understanding the relationship between perinatal psychopathology and outcomes that extend beyond the individual, such as couples’ relationship satisfaction, parent-infant relationships, birth outcomes, and child development.
Student Research Projects
In addition to our research on perinatal mental health, the LabRATS have a number of active studies driven by student interests. Many of these studies grew out of projects initiated in Dr. Sockol’s course on Research Methods in Clinical & Positive Psychology (PSY 314). Recently-completed and active studies include investigations of the effects of media exposure in the college classroom, gender differences in parental influences on eating-related attitudes and behaviors among undergraduate students, and evaluation of an Instagram-based intervention for reducing implicit and explicit anti-fat biases.
Check out some of the LabRATS’ most recent student projects:
- I can’t get no (body) satisfaction: Sociocultural pressures associated with disordered eating and body satisfaction in female athletes.Isabella Pallotto ’19 presented her senior thesis at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies in Atlanta, GA. “This study contributes to our understanding of sociocultural predictors’ differential influence on athletes’ body satisfaction and disordered eating and the vulnerabilities of lean sport athletes.”
- Age-related differences in flashbulb memories: A meta-analysis.Recent meta-analyses reveal age-related declines in short-term memory (STM), working memory, associative memory, prospective memory, face memory, recognition, and recall. The present meta-analyses extend this work beyond predominantly laboratory-based tasks to a naturalistic phenomenon.