Coping and Regulation of Environmental Stress Lab

The Pennsylvania State University

Projects

Building a Strong Identity and Coping Skills (BaSICS) is a new intervention developed by the CaRES Lab for children and adolescents facing chronic stress. Stress is associated with numerous physical and mental health problems. For children and adolescents, certain types of stress – such as stress due to discrimination or family money problems – are especially harmful because children have little control over these problems. Fortunately, children can learn tools to help them manage stress. The BaSICS Program seeks to help children develop positive personal and cultural identities and to learn healthy ways of dealing with the stress in their lives. BaSICS is an 8-week long community-based program designed for pre-adolescents between the ages of 11 and 12. This is the first intervention program to integrate coping skills training and positive identity development for youth. If you are interested in participating in our BaSICS study, visit the “Participate” page for more information.

“Proyecto para el Fortalecimiento de las Familias Latinas” (Strengthening Latino Families Project; FUERTE), is a family strengthening intervention program. The program helps Spanish-speaking families who are facing significant financial and acculturation stress by teaching skills for positive couple interactions, effective stress management, and positive parenting techniques. The goal is to help parents create a safe, happy home that promotes positive child development. This project was developed in Colorado and is completed.

Preadolescent Stress and Coping Project (PASC) is a study about children’s everyday stress. We are investigating the physiologic changes that occur when children face stress and when they cope with stress. In this experiment, parents completed several measures about their children’s life and development and then children spent 90 minutes with researchers. In the lab, children completed a variety of tasks with experimenters, some of which were designed to be mildly stressful and some of which were intended to help children calm down. Children will provided saliva (spit) samples several times during the study. This study is completed.

Families, Relationships, and Meaningful Experiences (FRAME) is a family strengthening intervention designed for families with children in the home who are facing high levels of stress, such as financial hardship. This intervention program teaches principles of and skills for positive couple interactions, effective stress management, and positive parenting. The goal is to help parents create a safe, happy home that promotes positive child development. This project was developed in Colorado and is completed.

The Rise Uptown project is partnering with Harrisburg school district & Tri-County Community Action to deliver a school-based and community-driven intervention designed to both eliminate drivers of crime and give youth (and parents) active ways to combat and prevent stress and trauma in their community. Training and consultation will be provided to teachers & the program will be delivered to 6th graders at Camp Curtin. This highly innovative program promises to have a high and sustained positive impact in this community and could serve as a model for many other communities within and beyond Pennsylvania. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual version of the training and intervention is underway.

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