Caregiver-Youth Interaction Study

How do emotional interactions between youth experiencing symptoms of thought disorder and their loved ones (i.e., parents, caregivers) predict well-being for youth and their loved ones? Can understanding these interactions between youth experiencing symptoms of thought disorder and their parents/caregivers help us develop better psychological interventions? This study will be the first to utilize experimental paradigms from affective and relationship sciences to determine the answers to these important questions.

Participating youth will first undergo a screening session to determine eligibility for the study. If you are found to be a good fit for the study, participating youth and one of their parents/caregivers will participate in a series of structured interviews asking questions about psychiatric history as well as common emotional experiences. Next, participating youth and one of their parents/caregivers will be then invited for an additional interaction visit. Specifically, the two of you will be asked to sit in chairs facing one another, and then to discuss positive, negative, and neutral topics. During this time, we will monitor your natural body signals; facial expressions; body language; and ask you about your emotional experiences. We will use this information to develop a picture of different interaction processes between youth and caregivers. We will also ask parents/caregivers to provide a saliva sample which will allow us to evaluate epigenetic markers of physical health. We will then invite you both back for a series of interviews 12 months later to see how things are going. Youth ages 12 to 24 with their parents/caregivers are eligible to participate in the study. 


Emotion in Couples (EC)
Intimate relationships play an important role in human development across the life span. But how do couples navigate the emotional ups and downs in their relationship? In this study, we are examining individual differences in couples’ emotional functioning and links with relationship, individual, and children’s well-being among married couples from the Chicago area. Couples engage in a variety of emotion tasks (e.g., discussions of an area of marital disagreement or a pleasant relationship memory) while their emotional experiences (e.g., feelings of affection or anger), behavior (e.g., expressions of joy or contempt), and autonomic physiology (e.g., heart rate or skin conductance) are being monitored. If you and your spouse are married, have a child between the ages of 5 and 18, and would like to participate in this study, please e-mail us at