In addition to specific research programs by our graduate students and postdocs, our current work focuses on:
Using intensive repeated measures to uncover mechanisms linking conflict and warmth to health in families
Data from the UCLA Families and Health study is providing new ways to examine daily associations between the quality of family relationships and mechanisms related to health including sleep and HPA axis functioning.
Intensive repeated measures also allow for examining individual differences in the associations between daily measures. For instance, we found that children who tended to report more negative affect on days that they reported greater marital conflict showed shorter leukocyte telomere length. We’re only beginning to scratch the surface of this approach to characterizing how people tend to respond to their social environments by using daily data.
In addition to daily measures of the family environment, our project has daily measures of health behaviors, affect, work and school functioning, and more that are just waiting to be explored!
Cutting-edge approaches to biological mechanisms
Many research teams are looking at neuroendocrine and immune processes as they relate to family functioning, our lab is forging new directions with “legacy” biological measures like cortisol, such as looking at change in diurnal cortisol parameters over time, as well as newer approaches such as gene expression.