HDFS faculty who are interested in health and biobehavioral processes seek to understand how individuals’ relationships and social experiences are associated with their health and well-being. Researchers examine a variety of physiological processes including salivary hormones, genetic predispositions, and daily symptoms that are associated with people’s behaviors, emotions, and experiences. Faculty also investigate how experiences and interactions with important others in individual’s lives impact mental health and risky health behaviors.
Aprile Benner explores the mental and physical health consequences of adolescents’ experiences in proximal ecological settings. Her current work investigates how social and demographic isolation and marginalization within schools influences adolescents’ substance use.
Ted Dix studies the role of mothers’ depressive symptomotology in the emergence of a variety of problems in children. Critical for approximately 20% of children in the U.S., depressive symptoms in mothers are linked to children’s emerging aggression, defiance, depression, anxiety, school failure, and relationship problems. Dr. Dix examines the conditions under which these symptoms pose particularly high risk.
Karen Fingerman studies 3-generation families using daily diary approaches and assessments of salivary hormones. She also collaborates on a study of older adults’ daily activities, social and cognitive functioning using actigraphic and fMRI technologies.
Su Yeong Kim examines how language brokering in Mexican American families relates to family members’ health.
Timothy Loving is interested in the ways in which the mind and body interact within the context of romantic relationships. This work includes the study of basic biobehavioral processes (e.g., under what conditions does falling in love affect physiological function for better or worse?) as well as larger health-relevant process (e.g., how does one’s relationship state affect overall acute stress reactivity?).
Lisa Neff is interested in the links between marital exchanges (e.g., conflict resolution, social support, etc.) and individual’s physiological functioning, as well as in how the stress of health problems may alter relationship dynamics.