Developmental Psychology

Lauri Jensen-Campbell, Associate Professor, Distinguished Teaching Professor

Dr. Jensen-Campbell’s research focuses on individual differences and the ways in which they might moderate social behavior, in children, adolescents, and young adults using a multiple method approach (e.g., self-report, behavioral observations, EEG, and fMRI). Primary research interests focus on individual differences in aggression, victimization, and reactions to social pain. In addition, research focuses on the development of effortful control in children and individual differences in these self-regulatory behaviors. The work falls at the boundary of social, developmental, personality, and health psychology. Recently, she has concentrated on understanding the influence of bullying and peer victimization on physical health outcomes, as assessed by cortisol, immune functioning markers, abdominal adiposity, blood pressure, telomere length, and even changes in the gut microbiome.

Given recent events in our country, Dr. Jensen-Campbell has begun to expand her program of research using this model to examine how acculturative may influence the health of first and second-generation immigrants, with a focus on first-generation unaccompanied minors. Immigrants face an acculturation process when coming to the United States. This acculturation process can include learning a new language and cultural rules as well as trying to maintain old cultural norms while incorporating new ones (Sirin et al., 2012). Additionally, although immigrants enrich U.S. culture and provide intellectual and economic stimulation, they often face prejudice and discrimination and deal with negative stereotypes and attitudes associated with their ethnic group and/or immigrant status (Stephan et al., 2005). Along with the acculturation process, there is a level of stress that is experienced. Acculturative stress is associated with experiencing negative feelings and challenges when trying to negotiate differences between the immigrant’s home and host cultures, and not being able to resolve them quickly or efficiently (Berry, 2006; Sirin et al., 2012). While acculturative stress has been associated with negative mental health (Berry, 2006; Hovey J. D. & King, 1996; Hovey, 2000; Sirin, Ryce, Gupta, & Rogers-Sirin, 2012) and increased substance abuse (Buchanan & Smokowski, 2009), there is not much research linking it to physical health outcomes.

She has also expanded the stress model from which she is working to include the influence of loneliness on health outcomes, especially as it relates to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Erin Austin, Assistant Professor of Instruction

Dr. Austin’s research interests focus on the interplay between interpersonal relationships and individual differences among children, adolescents, and young adults. Current research focuses on how individual differences including genetic factors and biological functioning (i.e., stress reactivity, gut microbiome) influence responses to peer victimization and chronic stress. She is also interested in bullying as a group process with a specific focus on the participant roles bystanders of peer victimization play during these interactions.