NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
Steven Evans, Ph.D.
Steven Evans, professor in the Department of Psychology, is co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools at Ohio University. Evans’ current and planned research focuses on academic and social impairments that continue as children with SEB transition into adolescents and young adults. Currently, we know that the inattentive symptoms among adolescents with SEB are associated with serious academic impairment that leads to poor school. Problems with impulsivity can lead to dangerous driving and poor decisions related to substance use and sexual behavior. Although we know that impairments change from childhood to adolescence and adulthood, questions remain, such as identifying exact manifestations of impairment and treatments for these problems. In particular medication treatments for adolescents with SEB are limited as many refuse to take medications around teenaged years. As such, training interventions and other non-medication-based services need to be identified and studied.
Dawn Graham, Ph.D.
Dawn Graham is an assistant professor of social medicine at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her expertise is in counseling psychology and the interaction between physical and behavioral health. Graham will offer mentoring on research projects related to mental health and community engagement, especially integrated primary health for children, adolescents, and adults with emotional and behavioral problems in rural and underserved populations. Her current and planned work centers around integrated health in rural settings as well as the effects of vicarious trauma on health professionals working with underserved populations.
Julie Owens, Ph.D.
Julie Owens, professor in the Department of Psychology, is co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools at Ohio University. Her expertise is in behavioral treatments for children with SEB, family and teacher engagement in evidence-based interventions, and school mental health program development and evaluation. Owens will be offering mentoring on research projects related to school mental health programming. Her current and planned work centers around screening to identify youth with SEB, implementation of a daily report card program and other behavioral interventions, measurement of intervention integrity among teachers, factors affecting teacher engagement intervention implementation, and the consultation process, as well as measurement of treatment outcome.
Brian Wymbs, Ph.D
Brian Wymbs is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Ohio University and is faculty in the Center for Intervention Research in Schools. His current work and future directions involve examinations of family functioning, especially among co-parents or couples, of children with SEB. It is quite common for parents of children with SEB to report being less satisfied in their relationships, arguing more frequently and without resolution in front of their child, and among those who are married, they are more likely to divorce than parents of children without SEB. However, until recent studies by Wymbs and colleagues, it was unclear whether disruptive child behavior conferred risk of marital discord in families of youth with SEB. Wymbs found that SEB conferred unique risk factors for divorce in families of youth with SEB. They also found that parents who had children with more severe disruptive behavior problems tended to have shorter marriages than parents with less severe behavior problems. Wymbs and colleagues have also found that married couples communicate less positively and more negatively during interactions with disruptive child confederates than couples who interact with typical confederates. Despite the knowledge we have gained about parental and marital functioning among families of children with SEB, questions remain, such as the effect of stimulant medication dose among children with SEB on effective interparental communication. Another unknown question is the impact of alcohol use on interparental communication among families of children with SEB, and whether intoxication of one or both parents leads to inter-partner violence. These studies will provide information needed to guide interventions to strengthen interparental relationship stability among parents of children with SEB.
Fran Wymbs, Ph.D
Fran Wymbs is an assistant professor of primary care in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University and is faculty in the Center for Intervention Research in Schools (CIRS). Her current and planned research focuses on factors related to engagement in evidence-based services among families of children with SEB. Specifically, given the high rate of untreated children with SEB and the high percentage of service drop-out among families of children with SEB, Wymbs is examining the impact of parental preferences, barriers, knowledge, and skills on engagement in community, school, and primary care interventions for youth with SEB. She has found that most parents (i.e., about 60%) far prefer individually delivered parent programs over other non-medication alternatives, and 20-25% prefer minimally intensive options. She is currently testing parents’ preference for and barriers experienced medication and non-medication interventions as well as intensive peer interventions. A secondary line of research involves examination of the effect of intense exercise on mood behavior and academic productivity among youth with SEB. Very recently, exercise has gained empirical attention as a promising treatment for children’s SEB. Exercise that is intense (as measured by 80-90 % of maximum heart rate) has been found to be associated with measurable improvements in test scores among typically developing children (e.g., CDC, 2010) and might be necessary to improve the academic and classroom behavior performance of children with SEB. She is currently concluding a pilot study of youth aged 6-13 who received intensive exercise as an adjunctive intervention to an evidence-based group behavior therapy program (i.e., Children’s Summer Treatment Program).