Study Participation

Project IPT

Inspiring Possibilities for Teens (IPT) hopes to determine if a proven preventive intervention for depression can prevent Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in low-income adolescent girls. This research holds the promise of finding concrete ways to help these high-risk and vulnerable youths before the hopelessness, irritability, and even suicidal thoughts, caused by MDD disrupts their teen years.

Over four years, the study will enroll 350 participants, ages 13-15 years old. A group of these adolescents will go through a thirteen- week structured treatment program, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, where therapists help them identify troubled relationships and develop positive coping strategies. Other girls will receive community counseling.

The adolescents return for follow-up visits at the end of treatment, 1 year later and again 6 months after that to evaluate their current progress. Researchers will also monitor the girls’ stress hormones and genetics. Studies show maltreatment and trauma can disrupt hormonal responses to tension or conflict. IPT also hopes to determine whether therapy can help restore normal hormonal functioning. Researchers will examine how genetics and hormones affect responses to treatment.

Participant recruitment is currently closed, but for more information regarding this study, please contact Stephanie Capobianco at 585-275-2991 or

Project SOLAR

We know from research and clinical observation, that child maltreatment is an early risk factor for substance abuse in adolescence and adulthood. It also frequently has a negative impact on a child’s biological and psychological development. However, little is known about how these early developmental impairments predict adverse outcomes as teens enter adulthood. By discovering more about this link, we can help identify youths at higher risk and provide early intervention to prevent substance abuse from occurring.

During 2004-2008, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded a study at our Summer Camp which investigated the relationship between the chronic stress associated with maltreatment and risk factors for later substance use and mental health problems in children 10-12 years old. The findings were substantial enough for NIDA to fund this follow-up study with 700 of those participants, who are now 18-20 years old.

Over five years, the young adults will participate in comprehensive, multilevel assessments similar to the ones conducted in the original study. Researchers will evaluate substance use and mental health, socio-emotional well-being, personality, and relationships in addition to assessing memory, inhibitory abilities, attention, and intelligence. They will use saliva samples to determine genetic and stress hormone functions and interview the participant’s mother and a close friend to obtain their perspectives on the participant’s functioning.

For more information regarding this study please contact Justin Russotti at 585-275-2991 or

Project TRUST

Child maltreatment is a complex, insidious problem that exerts an astronomical toll on individuals, families, and society. However, we know very little about whether early maltreatment hinders a child’s ability to trust and, if so, how that might influence their social development, interpersonal relationships and mental health later on. Learning more about this link can help develop early prevention and intervention strategies.

The TRUST project will assess multilevel aspects of trust in children ages 36-42 months old from low income families. Over five years, the project will recruit 300 children; 150 children will have a history of child maltreatment and 150 will have no maltreatment history. The children and their mothers participate in four sessions to look at components of how children learn whom to trust, self-reliance vs. deference in trust decision-making, and source memory. Mother-child attachment security, theory of mind/false belief understanding, and self-control processes also are assessed. The researchers also conduct three neurophysiological assessment sessions, measuring brain processing of stimuli yoked to that used in the trust assessments.

The measurements obtained constitute a multilevel assessment of diverse domains that are implicated in contributing to individual differences in the development of children’s early trust capacities. Moreover, investigating these domains holds great promise for identifying mechanisms that may contribute to difficulties that young maltreated children are likely to exhibit in the development of trust. The research also will greatly expand the understanding of normative trust development.

For more information regarding this study please contact Stephanie Capobianco at 585-275-2991 or