Research Investigating Growth and Health Trajectories

“We have to help our kids be better self-regulators. It will look different
for every child, but parents should be aware of this. It’s important that we
start to pattern healthy habits for our kids.” – Dr. Laurie Wideman

 

Being able to manage emotions is critical for academic achievement,
school readiness, and mental health.” – Dr. Susan Calkins

Overview

Dr. Susan Calkins collaborated with Dr. Susan Keane to develop the RIGHT Track Project in 1998 with a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The overall goal was to look at emotion regulation and development over time. About 450 families with 2-year-old children were enrolled in the study. These participants now range from late teens to early twenties. Their development has been evaluated in the home, school, and laboratory context, giving the study a well-rounded picture of their overall functioning. In 2014, Dr. Laurie Wideman joined Dr. Calkins, Dr. Keane, and former UNCG Professor Dr. Lilly Shanahan to focus on health outcomes as a new goal for RIGHT Track. UNCG researchers Dr. Lenka Shriver and Dr. Jessica Dollar have also joined the project. RIGHT Track is now a collaborative effort of the Kinesiology, Psychology, Human Development and Family Studies, and Nutrition departments, allowing the study to look at outcomes from a cross-disciplinary perspective. The team is currently looking at how self-regulation, our ability to manage our emotions and behaviors appropriately, in childhood impacts cardiometabolic risk development in adolescents and young adults. Ultimately, the goal is to develop prevention and intervention strategies that help people become better self-regulators and minimize poor health outcomes. This work could not be done without the help and cooperation of all the families involved with the project. Their participation is greatly appreciated.

 

Principal Investigators

Dr. Laurie Wideman

Department: Kinesiology

Email: l_widema@uncg.edu

Dr. Wideman is a Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology and the IRB Chair. Her research interests include the impact of exercise, disease, and injury on the endocrine system.

Dr. Susan Calkins

Department: Human Development and Family Studies

Email: sdcalkin@uncg.edu

Dr. Calkins is a Bank of America Excellence Professor for the Department of Human Development & Family Studies. Her research interests include social and emotional development in infancy and early childhood.

Dr. Susan Keane

Department: Psychology

Email: spkeane@uncg.edu

Dr. Keane is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of Clinical Training. Her research interests include childhood psychopathology and children’s social relationships, parent-child interaction, and the etiology, assessment, and treatment of peer rejection and neglect.

Dr. Lenka Shriver

Department: Nutrition

Email: lhshrive@uncg.edu

Dr. Shriver is an Associate Professor of Nutrition. Her research is concentrated in the area of child nutrition/obesity and nutrition & exercise.

Dr. Jessica Dollar

Department: Human Development and Family Studies

Email: jmdollar@uncg.edu

Dr. Dollar is a Research Scientist in the Human Development and Family Studies department. Her research interests include the role of children’s emotional reactivity and regulation within the context of the caregiving environment in shaping children’s trajectories toward psychological and social adjustment.

 

Selected Publications

The Role of Emotion Regulation in Children’s Early Academic Success

     Authors: Dr. Paulo Graziano, Dr. Rachael Reavis, Dr. Susan P. Keane, & Dr. Susan D. Calkins

     Publication Information: 2007, Journal of School Psychology, Volume 45, Issue 1, Pages 3-19
     PubMed: PMC3004175; doi: 0.1016/j.jsp.2006.09.002

Indirect Effects of Emotion Regulation on Peer Acceptance and Rejection: The Roles of Positive and Negative Social Behaviors

     Authors: Dr. Bethany L. Blair, Dr. Meghan J. Gangel, Dr. Nicole B. Perry, Dr. Marion O’Brien,
     Dr. Susan D. Calkins, Dr. Susan P. Keane, & Dr. Lilly Shanahan

     Publication Information: 2016, Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, Volume 62, Issue 4, Pages 415-439
     PubMed: PMC3004175; doi: 10.13110/merrpalmquar1982.62.4.0415

Rationale, Design and Methods for the RIGHT Track Health Study; Pathways from Childhood Self-Regulation to Cardiovascular Risk in Adolescence

     Authors: Dr. Laurie Wideman, Dr. Susan D. Calkins, James A. Janssen, Dr. Cheryl A. Lovelady,
     Dr. Jessica M. Dollar, Dr. Susan P. Keane, Dr. Eliana M. Perrin, & Dr. Lilly Shanahan

     Publication Information: 2016, BMC Public Health, Volume 16, Issue 1, Pages 459-472
     PubMed: PMC4888421; doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3133-7

Self-Regulation as a Predictor of Patterns of Change in Externalizing Behaviors from Infancy to Adolescence

     Authors: Dr. Nicole B. Perry, Dr. Susan D. Calkins, Dr. Jessica M. Dollar, Dr. Susan P. Keane,
     & Dr. Lilly Shanahan

     Publication Information: 2018, Development and Psychopathology, Volume 30, Issue 2, Pages 497-510
     PubMed: PMC5858969; doi: 10.1017/S0954579417000992

Childhood Self-Regulation as a Mechanism Through Which Early Overcontrolling Parenting Is Associated with Adjustment in Preadolescence

     Authors: Dr. Nicole B. Perry, Dr. Jessica M. Dollar, Dr. Susan D. Calkins, Dr. Susan P. Keane,
     & Dr. Lilly Shanahan

     Publication Information: 2018, Developmental Psychology, Volume 54, Issue 8, Pages 1542-1554
     PubMed: PMC6062452; doi: 10.1037/dev0000536

 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nate Berry

Department: Kinesiology

Email: ntberry@uncg.edu

Dr. Berry is a recent graduate from UNCG’s Kinesiology graduate program. His research interests include exercise physiology complexity measures and nonlinear dynamics to better understand how exercise and disease affect the time-dependent behaviors across the endocrine system.

 

Current Graduate Students

Travis Anderson – Kinesiology Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Laurie Wideman

BS in Exercise & Sports Science, Oregon State University
MA in Exercise Physiology, UNC Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Biomarkers associated with the physiological stress of exercise

Josi Gabaldon – Exercise Physiology Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Laurie Wideman

BS in Kinesiology, New Mexico State University

Research Interests: Understanding how/why people age and how to prolong their lives as well as understanding inflammation, cardiovascular risk, and cardiometabolic risk among adolescents

Sabine Huber – Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Susan Keane

BS in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience, University of Maryland

Research Interests: Understanding how early predictors in childhood lead to health and psychological outcomes, from a developmental perspective

Yuji Kim – Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Susan Keane

BA in Psychology, Washington University

Research Interests: Understanding risk and resilience processes in the development of internalizing disorders in adolescent youth

Meg Lawless – Nutrition Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Lenka Shriver

BS in Health, Behavior & Society, University of Rochester
MS in Nutrition, UNC Greensboro

Research Interests: Eating behaviors, the regulation of energy balance, and interactions between homeostatic and non-homeostatic influences on food intake

Jessica Lee – Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Susan Keane

BA in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, University of California
MA in Clinical Psychological Science, University of Maryland

Research Interests: Examining the biopsychosocial factors that contribute to the development of internalizing problems such as depression in adolescence

Lauren Paynter – Nutrition Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Lenka Shriver

BSPH in Biostatistics, UNC Chapel Hill
MPH in Nutrition, UNC Chapel Hill
MPH in Biostatistics, UNC Chapel Hill
Registered Dietitian

Research Interests: Examining the biopsychosocial factors that contribute to the development of internalizing problems such as depression in adolescence

Lexy Slutsky – Kinesiology Doctoral Student, Advisor: Dr. Laurie Wideman

BS in Exercise Science, Slippery Rock University
MS in Clinical Exercise Physiology, UNC Charlotte

Research Interests: How exercise affects cognitive performance with a focus on brain derived neurotrophic factor, neural activation, and vagal tone