Current Research
Human Development and Family Science

View our current research below. You may also be interested in our past and overall research.

Stephanie Armes
Doctoral Candidate (MFT Emphasis), Graduate Research Assistant

My research interests are focused on secondary trauma in helping professionals working with at-risk and mariginalized populations. I am currently investigating experiences of Cambodian therapists in Cambodia. Additional interests include formation and maintenance of trauma across individuals, families, and communities; re-integration of chronically homeless popualtions into housing and social communities; and uses of language switching when working with mulitlingual families in family therapy.

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Peter Attridge
Graduate Student

Open Science Collaboration, the Reproducibility Project- Replicating psychological research.

Characteristics of same-gender relationships in longer-term dyads: A phenomenological study.

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Danielle Augustine
Ph.D. Student & Graduate Research Assistant

Danielle is currently working as the LIFE Lab Coordinator under the supervision of Dr. Denise Lewis. She is assisting with the Cambodian and Laotian Community Resilience and Strengths Project.

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Diane Bales
Associate Professor and Extension Human Development Specialist

I am currently leading or co-leading two applied research projects. The Healthy Child Care Georgia project, with Foods and Nutrition Assistant Professor Caree Cotwright, evaluates the effectiveness of a policy, systems, and environment approach, combined with direct nutrition education, to change the nutrition and physical activity environments and practices of early childhood programs in Clarke County, Georgia. We are currently working with Head Start, PreK, and Preschool Special Education teachers in the Clarke County School district to make policy changes related to nutrition and physical activity, and to incorporate a 6-week developmentally appropriate curriculum on nutrition and physical activity into their classroom curriculum for young children. This project is funded with UGA SNAP-Ed funding.

A second applied research project, conducted with undergraduate and graduate student assistants, is evaluating the effectiveness of Better Brains for Babies training in preparing Early Head Start home visitors and family education literacy specialists to teach brain development to families. This project is taking place in collaboration with the Clarke County Office of Early Learning. 

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Kyle Bower
Ph.D. Candidate

My research focuses on how marginalized populations, specifically individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/gender non-conforming (LGBT) negotiate formal and informal care options in late life. My dissertation, “Generativity Among LGBT Older Adults” is designed to qualitatively explore the meaning of generativity within the context of historical, individual, familial, and relational cultures. By addressing the cultural context of social influences I anticipate being able to discern the individuality that constitutes the LGBT older adutl population.

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Margaret Caughy
Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Family Health Disparities

I am currently Principal Investigator of the Dallas Preschool Readiness Project (DPReP) funded by NICHD which explores the contextual, cultural, and family factors contributing to the development of self-regulation in low income African American and Latino preschoolers and how these processes facilitate school readiness in these children. The study includes over 400 children and their families followed over four waves of data collection (age 2.5 years, age 3.5 years, kindergarten, and first grade) so far. Measures include a comprehensive set of assessments of child functioning and family context including repeated measures of child self-regulation/executive function, video-recorded mother-child and father-child interaction, and child academic achievement. I am also Principal Investigator of an NICHD-funded study utilizing video-recorded mother-child interaction data from DPReP to examine the quality of the communication foundation among the Spanish-speaking children and mothers in the DPReP sample in relation to language development and early academic achievement. This project is being conducted in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Texas at Dallas, Georgia State University, Temple University, the University of Delaware, New York University, and the University of Washington. Recently, DPReP has been funded for another five years to follow our participating families as the study children move from…

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Yasemin Cava Tadik
Ph.D Student & Graduate Researh Assistant

Yasemin Cava-Tadik is a doctoral student and a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) at the University of Georgia, earning her degree in human development and family science (HDFS). She is passionate about family relationships among immigrants, cross-cultural issues, father involvement and marital quality. She received her M.S. from the University of Cincinnati in Educational Psychology and her B.A in psychology in Turkey. 

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Jenee' Duncan
Doctoral Candidate

I am currently examining the role of partner emotional expression on marital interactions. I am also involved in examining the impact of relationship and sex education programming on at-risk youth.

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Ted Futris
Associate Professor and Extension Family Life Specialist

I am the director of the Couple and Relationship Enrichment (CARE) Laboratory.  Also, I direct the Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education (HMRE) project funded by an $8.2 million grant from the Administration for Children and Families. This five-year, multi-disciplinary, campus-community partnership project involves the implementation and evaluation of research-based services designed to improve healthy marriage and relationship skills and promote economic stability for nearly 1,500 families in a 13-county, mostly rural, region in northeast Georgia. I am also in the process of evaluating the impact of a new program, ELEVATE, on foster parent couples. To learn more about my active research projects, visit  http://www.fcs.uga.edu/hdfs/care-lab

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Jennifer George
Lecturer

I continue to work on the influence of gender role attitudes on the development of romantic relationships among rural youth. I will expand this line of inquiry by considering parental occupations and close relationships. 

Additionally, my research includes pedagogical issues in teaching human developmen and family sciences, particularly concerning student engagement, formative assessment, and project based learning. 

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Jennifer Gonyea
Senior Lecturer

My teaching and scholarship focuses on examining family interactions, improving family functioning, coupled interactions, and strengthening couples as well as the methods for training others for service delivery with couples and families.  I use qualitative and mixed methods designs in my scholarship of pedagogy, ethical decision-making, community engagement, couple/family intervention, and community-based interventions that encompass overall health, nutrition, mindfulness, and mental health. I conduct evaluation research on both the processes and outcomes of community based trainings, organizations, and community based intervention programs directed toward improving mental health outcomes, overall wellness, and intimate relationships. 

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Lorien Jordan
Doctoral Canidate

My current research is developed around bicultural meanings and processes of social justice in New Zealand's mental health discourse. This project is being carried out at the Family Centre in Lower Hutt, New Zealand and is funded through a Fulbright US Graduate Student award. While at the Family Centre I am working under the supervision of Charles Waldegrave the head of the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit and one of the founders of the Just Therapy approach. I am also working under the advisement of Dr. Chris Cunningham the Director of the Research Centre for Maori Health & Development at Massey University.

I am currently engaged in two ongoing projects focused on the political partcipation of family therapists, and the cultural identity and stigmatization of Cambodian therapists.

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Annika Karlsen
Graduate Research Assistant

I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant in the CARE (Couples and Relationship Enrichment) Laboratory and second year doctoral student. 

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Victoria King
PhD Student

In collaboration with Dr. Wickrama,  I am examining how marital committment influences spouses' eating and exercise behaviors. Also, in collaboration with Dr. Futris, I am examining the couple and coparenting experiences of foster parents.

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Steven Kogan
Associate Professor

My research addresses the public health need to prevent substance use and high-risk sexual behavior among African American youth, particularly those residing in resource-poor rural Southern environments. This research program involves identifying individual, family, and community factors that protect young people from high risk behavior and translating these findings into efficacious, ecologically appropriate interventions.Currently, I am collecting data on 500 rural African American young men as part of a prospective, 5 year study. This study will evaluate men’s romantic and sexual relationship patterns, how these patterns affect sexual risk behavior and family formation, and the intrapersonal and contextual factors that affect relationship development.My job is not only to conduct etiological research but also to translate these findings into programs that can achieve public health impact. I have contributed to the development of a suite of three, developmentally appropriate, family-centered interventions to prevent youth risk behavior.I recently began a project, funded by NIAAA that compares the effects of a series of developmentally timed “inoculations” of family centered prevention programming on youth alcohol use in comparison to single inoculations in early or mid-adolescence or no inoculations. 

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Melissa Kozak
Lecturer; Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Assessing instructional methods through a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning perspective in Human Sexuality across the Lifespan.

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Denise Lewis
Associate Professor

My current research focuses on aging issues relevant to marginalized populations and on household production of health in elder-headed households. I conduct this research with Southeast Asian refugee families in the United States and with impoverished families in Cambodia. 

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Kate Morrissey Stahl
Ph.D. Student, HDFS

Morrissey Stahl will defend her dissertation in October of 2017. Her work involved interviewing older adult women about their experiences of sexuality as they age.

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Kimberly Osborne
Doctoral Student

I am currently working with Dr. Margaret Caughy and her team on the Dallas Preschool Readiness Project (DPReP). With funding from NICHD, the project has been extended to collect data on over 400 low-income African American and Latino children and families during the child's transition into middle school. Through examination of the individual characteristics of the child, parenting behaviors, neighborhood and other contextual factors, the project seeks to understand factors that enhance the academic achievement and behavioral management for these youth. 

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Mark Pettit
Graduate Research Assistant

Currently I am researching the practice of mindfulness and its effects on interpersonal relationship quality. Also, I am assisting with a project that is evaluating the effectiveness of GAPREP, a relationship and sexual education program for adolescents. 

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Monysakada Phal
Graduate research assistant

Sakada is currently working in LIFE Lab under the supervision of Dr. Denise Lewis. He is helping with the Cambodian and Laotian Community Resilience and Strength Project.

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Shaquinta Richardson
Ph.D. Candidate (MFT)

I am currently working on two research studies relating to sibling relationships when one member of the sibling dyad has an intellectual or developmental disability.  My first study is an exploration of Black adult siblings of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their perceptions of themselves as siblings and their experiences with race.  The second, my dissertation, is a multicase analysis exploring the individual, family, and cultural experiences relating the gender, race, and dis/ability in Black women's sibling relationships.  

Previously, I have explored the association between the sibling relationship and maternal stress, as well as how race/culture intersects with the presence of a disability within those relationships.

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Emilie Smith
Janette McGarity Barber Distinguished Professor and Department Head, Interim Graduate Coordinator

  Over the past 25 years I have worked on local and national large-scale projects designed to promote positive parenting, and youth development.  I have worked with programs across the country to deliver support and skills to families of children and adolescents.  Currently, I am involved in a randomized trial designed to foster quality, support, appropriate structure, engagement, and youth agency in 75 community-based afterschool settings in Pennsylvania and Georgia.  We are also testing technological approaches to supporting broad-based implementation of evidence-based practices. 

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Charity Somo
Graduate Research Assistant

I am currently conducting research on suicidal behaviors in low income countries, culturally sensitive practise by marriage and family therapists and the ecological resilience within refugee communities. 

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Kimberlee Spencer
Clinical Assistant Professor and Child Life Coordinator

My focus is on evaluating the efficacy of Child Life services on patient and family coping during chronic and acute illness as well as patient death. This information is used to develop resources for Certified Child Life Specialists in clinical practice as well as students preparing for certification. 

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