Research

The Pediatric Coping, Health, and Illness Lab aims to examine the relationship between environment, physical and mental health in children and adolescents.  We often collaborate with other researchers, and students are invited to bring forward ideas for new research directions. These are some of our current projects.

Stress and Pain Studies

We are interested in how stress influences the experience of pain.  A few of our current projects include secondary analyses of data from a pediatric pain clinic, a pediatric pain research study, and a nationally-representative dataset of adolescents. Data collected from undergraduate students are being analyzed to understand the impact of different stressors on pain symptoms, and the potential implications for stress biomarkers.

Health Disparities in Pediatric Chronic Pain

We are interested in learning more about the causes for disparities in pediatric chronic pain treatment. We are currently conducting a systematic review of the literature to better understand representation in clinical trials for chronic pain.

Chronic Illness Studies

Some of our projects focus on specific pediatric chronic illness populations. For example, we are examining how children, adolescents, and families experience and manage hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) together; and the trajectories and outcomes for youth with disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBIs). We are also developing and testing a culturally sensitive psychosocial coping tool for youth with craniofacial conditions.

Undergraduate Health Studies

We also have a few ongoing studies of undergraduate health behaviors. These studies aim to learn more about how distal factors such as stressful life events and proximal factors like daily physical health complaints, daily hassles, the impact of race-based violence, and COVID influence undergraduate student health. We are interested in the influence on health behaviors including sleep, physical activity, eating, and substance use such as sleep, physical activity, nutritional habits, and substance use. These studies have used ActiGraph technology, saliva samples of stress-related biomarkers, and daily diary methods.

We would like to acknowledge our collaborators at Lurie Children’s Hospital, Rosalind Franklin University Medical School, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, and University of Cincinnati for their support.