Development of Risk and Resilience Among Rural Youth (DORRY), funded by an NIH/NIDA K grant, aims to study the neurobiological mechanisms between early adversity and substance use among rural adolescents. Our team is employing multi-level methods of data collection, including structural and functional MRI, self- and parent-report questionnaires on past experiences and behavior, videotaped and coded parent-child interactions, and stress physiology. The study is currently in its first wave of data collection and will continue for the next 5 years, collecting another 2 waves of data.

Interested in participating?

We are currently recruiting children ages 12-14 and their caregiver(s) to participate in this study. Participation in the study includes completing questionnaires and an MRI brain scan of the child, as well as compensation of up to $200. If you are interested in participation, please see our flyer and/or email us at to receive more information. To be scheduled for a visit, go to this link to complete a short registration survey.

Past Projects

Parenting and Decision Making (PDM)

PDM was an internally-funded project that extended from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2018. Employing a longitudinal (two wave) sample of low-income, ethnically diverse he study aimed to collect longitudinal data (two waves) on early childhood experiences, parenting behaviors, parent and child physiological functioning, and psychopathology. Data on parenting behavior was collected via videotaped interactions between the parent and child and subsequently coded. Physiological data was collected on parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system as well as the HPA axis. Several articles have been published using this dataset.

Childhood Experiences, Vagal Tone, and Risk Behaviors

This project was an internally-funded project that ran from 2015 through 2018. The study aimed to investigate how vagal tone plays a role in the impact of childhood experiences on youths’ later development of risk behaviors. Over the course of the project, our team collected 3 waves of data from 225 young adults of low socioeconomic status in Athens, Georgia area using surveys, computer-based tasks, laboratory-induced tasks, and psychophysiological assessment. Several articles have been published using this dataset. 

Childhood Adversity and Risk Behaviors (CARB)

The CARB study examined the neural and cognitive mediators of childhood adversity and adult risk behaviors among rural women. Our team collected neuroimaging and survey data from 25 low socioeconomic-status young women (aged 18-25 years old) and tested the neurological pathways linking the associations between early life stress and risk behaviors.


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