Research

Ongoing research in the Raposa lab falls into three broad categories related to stress and socio-emotional development.

Early Life Stress and Health

Our lab investigates how early life stressors influence trajectories of development, with a particular focus on biological (e.g., inflammation, HPA axis functioning) and social (e.g., peer selection, social stress reactivity) processes that are implicated in risk for a broad array of physical and mental health problems. Although some of our research examines the impact of particular stressors, like maternal depression or poverty, most of our research projects examine cumulative early life stress, given the frequent co-occurrence of multiple stressors for at-risk youth.

Stress-Buffering Effects of Social Relationships

We explore how close relationships with parents and peers, or even fleeting positive interactions with strangers, might mitigate the negative impact of early stressors on youth. These projects hope to illuminate ways that prevention and intervention efforts can harness social behavior and close relationships to help reduce the negative impact of stressful early environments.

Mentoring for At-risk Youth

Our research also examines the effectiveness of mentoring as one intervention that harnesses the power of close relationships. In particular, we seek to explore whether and how mentoring improves psychosocial and academic outcomes for youth growing up in risky environments, and how adjustments to mentoring programs could help to serve these at-risk youth more effectively.

For more information about findings from the Raposa lab, please see our Publications tab, and click on the links below.
         “Under the Skin: How Childhood Adversity Takes its Toll”
         “Be Kind, Unwind: How Helping Others Can Help Keep Stress in Check”