The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Family Research Lab

PAST STUDIES


Mother-Child Conflict Study


This project examined mother-child conflict interactions and children’s behavioral and biological reactivity among a sample of 190 mothers and their 5- to 7-year-old children. Participants engaged in a filmed conflict discussion task, mothers completed survey measures, and children engaged in social-cognitive tasks with a research assistant and provided saliva samples to test cortisol reactivity. During this study, research assistants assisted with participant recruitment, running and filming laboratory visits, saliva collection, and observational coding.

Publications

Nelson, J. A., & Boyer, B. P., (2018). Maternal responses to negative emotions and child externalizing behavior: Different relations for 5-, 6-, and 7-year-olds. Social Development, 27, 482-494. doi: 10.1111/sode.12296

Sang, S.A., & Nelson, J. A., (2017). The effect of siblings on children’s social skills and perspective taking. Infant and Child Development, 26(6), e2023. doi:10.1002/icd.2023

Boyer, B. P., Scott, J.K., & Nelson, J. A., (2016). Maternal conflict behavior profiles and child social skills. Social Development, 25(4), 759-776. doi:10.1111/sode.12169

Nelson, J. A., (2015). Child reactivity moderates the over-time association between mother-child conflict quality and externalizing problems. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 39(4), 376-382. doi: 10.1177/0165025415573643

Nelson, J. A., Boyer, B. P., Sang, S.A., & Wilson, E.K., (2014). Characteristics of mother-child conflict and child sex predicting resolution. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(2), 160-167. doi:10.1037/a0035990

Posters/Presentations

Boyer, B. P., Scott, J. K., & Nelson, J. A., (2015, March). Associations of maternal conflict behavior profiles with children’s social competence. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Nelson, J. A., & Boyer, B. P., (2015, March). Parental responses to negative emotions and child externalizing behavior: Different relations for 5-, 6-, and 7-year-olds. In V. Castro (Chair), Is parents’ supportiveness always a good thing? The dynamic value of parents’ emotion socialization across childhood. Symposium presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Nelson, J. A., (2013, November) Child reactivity and constructive contributions to mother-child conflict. Paper presentation at the National Council on Family Relations annual conference, San Antonio, Texas.

Sang, S.A., Wilson, E. K., Boyer, B. P., & Nelson, J. A., (2013, November). Differences between sibling relations and emotional and cognitive perspective taking. Poster presentation at the National Council on Family Relations annual conference, San Antonio, Texas.

Nelson, J. A., (2013, April) Children’s cortisol reactivity and perspective-taking predicting social competence. In J. B. Hinnant (Chair), Biological stress response systems and child social competence and psychopathology symptoms: Psychological and environmental moderators. Symposium conducted at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, Washington.

Boyer, B. P., & Nelson, J. A., (2013, April). Dyadic parental supportiveness: Relations to children’s social and academic competence. Poster presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, Washington.


The Stress, Coping and Emotional Expression Study


The goal of this study was to examine young adults’ stress, coping, negative emotion, and mental health. Undergraduate students, primarily from UT Dallas, completed an online survey. The total sample size was 939 participants. During this study, research assistants monitored surveys and worked with online survey programs.

Publications

Boyer, B. P., Gallay, C., Villarreal, D. L., Smith, O. A., & Nelson, J. A., (in prep). Emotion beliefs, coping resources, and the negative impact of life stress among college students.

Posters/Presentations

Boyer, B. P. & Nelson, J. A., (2017, April). Emotion beliefs, coping resources, and stress severity among Caucasian and Asian-American college students. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial conference, Austin, Texas.

Boyer, B. P. & Nelson, J. A., (2016, April). Recalled childhood parental emotion socialization: Relations with coping and stress impact among college students. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Adolescence biennial conference, Baltimore, Maryland.

Sang, S.A., Wilson, E.K., & Nelson, J. A., (2014, March). Ethnic group differences between remembered childhood emotion socialization and substance use in college. Poster presentation at the Society for Research on Adolescence biennial conference, Austin, Texas.


Daily Family Interactions Study


In this study, mothers and fathers of 5- to 8- year old children participated in an online study assessing parent-child conflict and family stress over the span of 1 week. The study required daily participation from one or both parents, starting with an initial questionnaire about family information and a shorter, daily questionnaire regarding daily experiences and a specific parent-child conflict interaction for the remaining seven days. Research assistants helped us in the study by recruiting and scheduling families to participate, distributing and maintaining survey responses, organizing and managing data across days and families, and working with statistical software.

Publications

Nelson, J. A., Boyer, B. P., Smith, O. A., & Villarreal, D. L. (submitted). Relations between characteristics of collaborative and oppositional mother-child conflict.

Villarreal, D. L., Smith, O. A., & Nelson, J. A. (in prep). Associations between child behavior problems and mother-child conflict mediated by parental distress.

Adelson, M. A., & Nelson, J. A. (in prep). The Moderating Role of Parental Beliefs about Children’s Emotions Between Daily Parent-Child Conflict and Relationship Behaviors.

Nelson, J. A., Boyer, B. P., Villarreal, D. L., & Smith, O. A., (2017). Relations between mothers’ daily work, home, and relationship stress with characteristics of mother-child conflict interactions. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(4), 431-441. doi:10.1037/fam0000276

Posters/Presentations

Nelson, J. A., Boyer, B. P., Smith, O. A., & Villarreal, D. L., (2017, April). Relations between characteristics of collaborative and oppositional mother-child conflict. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial conference, Austin, Texas.

Archibald, A., Trevino, A., & Nelson, J. A., (2017, April). Home chaos and children’s behavior problems in relation to mothers’ parenting stress: The moderating role of childrearing beliefs. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial conference, Austin, Texas.

Villarreal, D. L., Smith, O. A., & Nelson, J. A., (2017, April), Associations between Child Behavior Problems and Mother-Child Conflict Mediated by Parental Distress. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial conference, Austin, Texas.

Nelson, Boyer, Villarreal, & Smith (2015, November). Mothers’ daily stress and conflict interactions with their children. Paper presentation at the National Council on Family Relations annual conference, Vancouver, Canada.


Emotion Suppression Study


A small pilot study was conducted with nine families of 4- to 5- year old children, where parents and children provided cardiac physiological data while engaging in interaction tasks. The goal of the study was to better understand parents’ and children’s emotional responses. In this study, our research assistants worked with psychophysiology equipment and conducted lab visits.


Family Life Study


The Family Life study was a small pilot study of 21 two-parent families of preschoolers (3-5-year old) assessing daily stress and mealtime interactions. Parents completed online surveys for 7 days, and on 4 of those 7 days, research assistants filmed families’ dinnertimes in their homes. Research assistants helped with participant recruitment and scheduling, distributing online surveys, and recording equipment during home visits.


Teen Healthy Study


Doctoral student Brittany Boyer’s dissertation project examined how social difficulties, social support, and stress reactivity impact the physical health of 11- to 14-year-old adolescents. Adolescents completed online measures of social experiences, engaged in lab stressor tasks while blood pressure and heart rate were recorded every 60 seconds, and had finger-stick blood samples collected to measure blood lipids and glucose. In this study, research assistants helped by conducting a lab stressor task and helped distribute surveys with online software.


NICHD Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development Archival Database


The NICHD SECCYD is a large archival dataset conducted at 10 research sites across the country starting in 1991 that includes 1,362 participants. The study, which started when the child was one month old, followed families for approximately 15 years. It examines many aspects of children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and academic functioning, as well as parenting and family processes. Students in the lab can be granted access through Dr. Nelson to conduct secondary analyses of the de-identified dataset.

Publications

Smith, O. A., & Nelson, J. A. (submitted). Interparental and parent-child conflict predicting adolescent depressive symptoms.

Villarreal, D. L., & Nelson, J. A. (submitted). Trajectories of parent-child and friend-child conflict over middle childhood.

Villarreal, D. L., & Nelson, J. A. (in press). Parental monitoring and adolescent risky behavior: The moderating role of adolescent internalizing symptoms and gender. Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Scott, J. K., Nelson, J. A., & Dix, T. (2018). Interdependence among mothers, fathers, and children from early to middle childhood: Parents’ sensitivity and children’s externalizing behavior. Developmental Psychology, 54, 1528-1541.

Villarreal, D. L., & Nelson, J. A. (2018). Longitudinal associations between family members’ internalizing symptoms across middle childhood. Journal of Family Psychology. 32(3), 419-424. doi:10.1037/fam0000399

Boyer, B. P., Nelson, J. A., & Holub, S.C. (2015). Childhood body mass index trajectories predicting cardiovascular risk in adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(6), 599-605. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.01.006

Boyer, B. P., & Nelson, J. A., (2015). Longitudinal associations of childhood parenting and adolescent health: The mediating influence of social competence. Child Development, 86(3), 828-843. doi:10.1111/cdev.12347

Nelson, J. A., & Perry, N. B. (2015). Emotional reactivity, self-control, and children’s hostile attributions over middle childhood. Cognition and Emotion, 29(4), 592-603. doi:10.1080/02699931.2014.924906

Nelson, J. A., O’Brien, M., Grimm, K. J., & Leerkes, E. M., (2014). Identifying mother-child interaction styles using a person-centered approach. Social Development, 23(2), 306-324. doi:10.1111/sode.12040

Nelson, J. A., & O’Brien, M., (2012). Does an unplanned pregnancy have long-term implications for mother-child relationships? Journal of Family Issues, 33(4), 506-526. doi:10.1177/0192513X11420820

Posters/Presentations

Smith, O. A., & Nelson, J. A. (2018, April). Cumulative interparental conflict risk on adolescent depressive symptoms. Poster accepted to the Society for Research in Adolescence biennial conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Villarreal, D. L., & Nelson, J. A. (2018, April). Trajectories of parent-child and friend-child conflict into the transition to middle-school. Poster accepted to the Society for Research in Adolescence biennial conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Boyer, B. P., Nelson, J. A., & Kane, H. S. (2017, April). Trajectories of mother-child and father-child conflict related to adolescent blood pressure. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial conference, Austin, Texas.

Villarreal, D. L., & Nelson, J. A. (2016, April) Longitudinal associations between family members’ anxiety and depression symptoms. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Adolescence biennial conference, Baltimore, Maryland.

Villarreal, D. L., & Nelson, J. A. (2016, April). The influence of anxiety and depression symptoms on parental monitoring and adolescents’ risky behaviors. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Adolescence biennial conference, Baltimore, Maryland.

Smith O. A., & Nelson, J. A. (2016, April). Interparental and parent-child conflict predicting adolescent depression. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Adolescence biennial conference, Baltimore, Maryland.

Boyer, B. P. & Nelson, J. A. (2016, April). Body mass index trajectories from age 7 through age 15: Gender differences in relations with adolescent social skills. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Adolescence biennial conference, Baltimore, Maryland.

Scott, J. K., & Nelson, J. A. (2015, November). Reciprocal relations between father sensitivity and child behavior problems. Poster presentation at the National Council on Family Relations annual conference, Vancouver, Canada.

Boyer, B. P., & Nelson, J. A. (2013, November). Early parenting, social-emotional development, and adolescent health. Paper presentation at the National Council on Family Relations annual conference, San Antonio, Texas.

Nelson, J. A., & O’Brien, M. (2012, November). Identifying mother-child conflict styles using a person-centered approach. Poster presentation at the biennial meeting of the International Association for Relationship Research, Chicago, Illinois.

Nelson, J. A., & O’Brien, M. (2009, April). Does an unplanned pregnancy have long-term implications for mother-child relationships? Poster presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Denver, CO.