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This page will showcase the past projects that were conducted in the Child Behavior Lab.

Child Behavior Research

Reasoning within the context of other variables in 24-30 month olds - Megan S. Dunlap

My thesis project was a parenting study, and the participants were mothers and their children ages 24 to 30 months old. Mother/child dyads participated in several videotaped interactions, and the tapes were coded by research assistants using an observational code. The mothers also completed several questionnaires (i.e. Demographics, ECBI, CBCL, TBAQ, and the Parenting Scale). The study examined the effects of reasoning within the context of other relevant variables. The type of task (novel vs. familiar) was varied, with both proactive and prohibitive situations. The level of parental supervision (immediate vs. delayed) was also varied. In addition, the study controlled for other confounding variables (e.g. nurturance), and assessed child temperament so that the effects of individual child differences could be explored.

Disaster Effects Research

Children's Distress, Attributions, and Coping after a Natural Disaster - Laura Knight

This project was a longitudinal study examining the long term affects of a natural disaster (a tornado) on children's distress, coping, and attributions. The study measured these variables at 20 and 24 months post-disaster by using the Frederick Reaction Index (RI), the Kidcope, and the Trauma Attribution Checklist (TAC). It was found that the distress level was stable between assessment times and that the levels of distress were still at disaster levels even two years after the trauma. It was also found that those children with the most severe distress employed the largest number of coping strategies, but that coping efficacy was not related to symptom level at either time of assessment. It was also found that there was a signficant positive relationship between attributions and PTSD symptomatology, possibly indicating that distress prompts a search for attributions or that more attributions cause greater distress. This was also the first study to employ the TAC, which had very reasonable psychometric data for a new measure. This is significant because there are no other measures currently available that measure attributions in this age range or with disaster populations.

Outside Research by CBL Members

Readiness to reduce environmental tobacco smoke exposure among parents of infants - Raegan B. Smith

The purpose of the study was to examine readiness to reduce environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure and/or to quit smoking in a sample of mothers and fathers with infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, OK. Participants completed a structured interview about their smoking habits and the pattern of smoking that occurred in the home. They also indicated their readiness to minimize ETS exposure with their newborns at-risk for health complications and their readiness to quit if they smoked. Other measures completed by the participants included the Beck Depression Inventory and the Symptom Checklist-90. Written materials regarding ETS exposure and smoking were distributed to participants who agreed to take them. Follow-up phone calls were made to the majority of the sample at 3, 6, and 9- month intervals to measure changes in smoking habits and ETS exposure.

Descriptive reseach on infants and children with prenatal exposure to methamphetamine - Raegan B. Smith

The purpose of the study was to describe a sample of infants and children with prenatal exposure to methamphetamine based on repeated developmental evaluations. Participants were between the ages of 3 months and 6 years and were seen in a special clinic that provides developmental evaluations and interventions for children and families who are at high risk for disability or behavioral problems because of prenatal exposure to drugs/alcohol during fiscal years 2000 and 2001. Eighteen infants and children were identified as having methamphetamine exposure, and the majority was also exposed to other substances, such as nicotine, Valium, alcohol, cocaine, heroine, and marijuana. The results indicated that over half of the children presented with behavior problems, despite normal cognitive functioning, and 40% demonstrated delays in language comprehension. Furthermore, most had been referred for some type of intervention service at some point in time due to significant developmental concerns. There was a wide age range in children who had been referred to the clinic, and the fact that many children were over the age of two years at their initial visit demonstrated the need for earlier identification and entry into developmental tracking programs.