Child Development and Epidemiological Research
The Child Development & Epidemiological Research Area uses research and evaluation methods to examine the ways in which risk and protective processes at the child, family, and systems levels influence developmental and other related outcomes for child and adolescent populations. A related aim of our work is to inform the development of more effective prevention and intervention services and supports to improve outcomes for children and families.
A primary focus of the area's work is on children and families exposed to adversity with a particular emphasis on those involved in child-serving systems (e.g., child welfare and children's behavioral health systems). This work involves close collaboration and consultation efforts with state agencies and community providers to frame relevant research and evaluation questions and design appropriate methods for collecting the necessary data with which to answer such questions.
A second area of research focuses on understanding risks of adolescent substance use and associated behaviors (e.g., antisocial or delinquent behavior, risky sexual activity). This area of research involves analysis of a range of regional, state, and national datasets to examine patterns of adolescent risk behavior and their relation to a range of social-ecological risk and protective factors at the individual, family, peer, school, and community level.
Finally, our work incorporates a range of quantitative data analytic methods to examine risk and protective processes associated with developmental processes and behavioral outcomes. Dr. Connell teaches the seminar on Data Analytic Methods in Prevention and Community Research for the Division of Prevention and Community Research Postdoctoral Training Program in Substance Abuse Prevention Research.
Examples of research and evaluation activities within the area are below. In addition, Dr. Connell and postdoctoral fellows working in the area are involved in a range of smaller research studies that address developmental and behavioral outcomes for children and adolescents in such areas as substance use and abuse, risky sexual behavior, and antisocial or delinquent activities. These studies frequently involve secondary analysis of existing data sets (e.g., AddHealth, NSCAW, etc.).