The primary objective of this laboratory is to study the development of individual differences in adjustment. Our goal is to understand the processes by which early risk factors develop into behavioral and emotional problems. We have been especially interested in common externalizing behavior problems, including aggressive, disruptive, and noncompliant behavior. We have also been interested in internalizing behavior problems, including anxious and socially withdrawn behavior. We are also interested in the positive aspects of adjustment, which are sometimes just the inverse of behavior problems, but sometimes, we think, are independent of levels of behavior problems, and may place a child’s behavior problems in an important context.
We have focused on adjustment in multiple settings and time periods of children’s lives, from the home to the classroom and from infancy to adulthood. We have been interested in both inborn and experiential bases of adjustment and have studied factors such as temperament, disrupted sleep patterns, attachment security, family stress and social support, day care and after school care, neighborhood characteristics, and parental discipline and warmth. Our research has been primarily longitudinal, with two major studies following children and their families into early adulthood and other shorter-term longitudinal studies as well. Ultimately, our goal is to learn factors that aid in the development of preventive treatment programs.