Research at Mt. Hope

Research conducted at Mt. Hope Family Center is dedicated to elucidating developmental processes in normal and abnormal development, with special interest in understanding pathways contributing to maladaptation, psychopathology, and resilience.

Formulated on the principles of the field of developmental psychopathology, research studies at the center examine diverse psychological, social-contextual, and biological processes and their interrelations across development. This complex, multi-level approach provides an integrated, in-depth perspective on contributors to mental disorders and mental health.

Individuals with psychopathology and those at high risk for emergent psychological difficulties are studied in contrast to demographically comparable low risk individuals in order to expand knowledge of the ontogenesis of diverse forms of psychopathology, as well as contributors to adaptive, normative development.

The basic research studies form a foundation for translating knowledge gained about normal and atypical development into prevention and intervention initiatives.

In turn, the center applies this knowledge to developing effective treatment strategies. Research is conducted to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of prevention and intervention approaches and establish an evidence base for their utility.

Insights gained from clinical interventions provide feedback for further basic scientific investigations of development and psychopathology.

Special Populations Investigated

  • Child Maltreatment: Infancy Through Adolescence
  • The Effects of Poverty on Development
  • Children of Mothers with Major Depressive Disorder: Infancy through Age Nine
  • Major Depression
  • Domestic Violence
  • Adult Development in Mothers and Fathers

Domains Investigated

Sociomotional Development
  • Affect Development and Regulation
  • Temperament
  • Attachment Across the Lifespan
  • Self-System Processes
  • Representational Development
  • Social-Cognitive Development
  • Peer Relations

Cognitive Development
  • Intellectual Functioning
  • Language Development
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychological Functioning

Family Processes
  • Parent-Child Interaction
  • Family Systems Processes
  • Parenting

Contextual Influences
  • Poverty
  • Community Violence
  • Neighborhood Influences
  • Traumatic Events

Biological Processes
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuroendocrine Regulation/Reactivity
  • Heart Rate and Vagal Tone
  • Genetics and Gene by Environment Interaction

Adaptation and Psychopathology
  • Internalizing Disorders/Syndromes (e.g., Major Depression, Anxiety Disorders)
  • Externalizing Disorders/Syndromes (e.g., Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Dissociation
  • Personality Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Substance Use/Abuse
  • Social Maladaptation
  • Resilience

Intervention/Prevention Efficacy Studies
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy for Mothers with Major Depression and Their Infants and Toddlers
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy for Maltreated Infants and Their Mothers
  • Psychoeducational Parenting Intervention for Maltreated Infants and Their Mothers
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy for Maltreated Preschoolers
  • Therapeutic Preschool/Parent Training for Maltreated Preschoolers
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Major Depression

Current and Past Grant Funding for Research

  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • National Institute of Nursing Research
  • Office of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • A. L. Mailman Foundation
  • Halcyon Hill Foundation
  • Smith Richardson Foundation
  • Spencer Foundation
  • William T. Grant Foundation
  • William C. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.
  • Marie C. & Joseph C. Wilson Foundation
  • The Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children's Bureau

Banner Photo Credits: Left & Right Photo © 2005 Anissa Thompson -, Center Photo by Rodrigo Gutierrez