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


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: [email protected]

Dr. Wideman is the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professor in the Kinesiology Department. 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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

Dr. Shriver is a Professor of Nutrition. Her research is concentrated in the area of child nutrition/obesity and nutrition & exercise. Her research efforts target a variety of social, behavioral, and environmental factors that impact dietary intakes and obesity risk among children.

Dr. Jessica Dollar

Department: Kinesiology

Email: [email protected]

Dr. Dollar is a Research Scientist and the Associate Director of the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness. 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: PMC6058310; 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

Longitudinal Associations Between Specific Types of Emotional Reactivity and Psychological, Physical Health, and School Adjustment

     Authors: Dr. Jessica M. Dollar, Dr. Nicole B Perry, Dr. Susan D. Calkins, Dr. Lilly Shanahan,
     Dr. Susan P. Keane, Dr. Lenka Shriver, and Dr. Laurie Wideman

     Publication Information: 2023, Development and Psychopathology, Volume 35, Issue 2, Pages 509-523
     PubMed: PMC9288564; doi: 10.1017/S0954579421001619

Physiologic and Behavioral Correlates of Energy Intake in Emerging Adulthood: Cross-Sectional Analysis of the RIGHT Track Health Study

     Authors: Dr. Jessica McNeil, Hannah R Koch, Dr. Jessica M. Dollar, Dr. Lenka Shriver,
     Dr. Susan P. Keane, Dr. Lilly Shanahan, and Dr. Laurie Wideman

     Publication Information: 2023, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 153, Issue 1, Pages 88-95
     PubMed: PMC10196564; doi: 10.1016/j.tjnut.2022.11.011