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Psychology researchers present on parent-child relationships at NYC conference

Published on March 22, 2022

Psychology researchers present on parent-child relationships at NYC conference

Group Photo
EPA student-presenters Jordyn Powell, Paulina Hernandez Galindo and Meganlyn Delaney.

Eastern Connecticut State University psychology majors Paulina Hernandez Galindo, Jordyn Powell and Meganlyn Delaney, along with professor T. Caitlin Vasquez-O’Brien, presented research projects at the annual Eastern Psychological Associations (EPA) meeting in New York City on March 5. The research topics included depression among parents and children, parent-child relationships, sibling relationships and differential parental treatment.

Psychological Science Professor T. Caitlin Vasquez-O'Brien

As an assistant professor of psychological science, Vasquez-O’Brien’s primary research studies include child social-emotional development, sibling relations and gender role development in early childhood. At the EPA meeting, Vasquez-O’Brien presented her research titled “Parenting and Symptoms of Depression in Parent and Children Over Time.” Student Melissa Valenzuela ’23 helped as a research assistant.

This topic explored the state of depression in parents and how that can cause depression in their children. “I chose to look at the relationship between parent’s and children’s depression because there is a lot of existing research that parent depression impacts children, but we don’t know as much about how and when children’s depression impacts their parents,” said Vasquez-O’Brien. “The findings did raise concerns for me. We found that when children were more depressed in early childhood, their parents were more depressed later on, and their parents were less warm toward their children.”

Vasquez-O’Brien commended the Eastern students for their impressive work on their research topics. “It was wonderful working with the students," said Vasquez-Obrien. "Each of the research assistants dedicated two semesters to this research project, and worked hard to shape novel hypotheses about sibling and family processes. They did an impressive job presenting their work at the conference as well.”

A slide from Vasquez-O'Brien's presentation. Data source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2021, March 22). "Children’s Mental Health: Data & Statistics."

Galindo’s project was titled “Self-Perception as a Mediator in the Relation Between Differential Parental Treatment and Future Problem Behavior,” and investigated the correlation between parental treatment and how that influences a child’s negative or positive self-perception. “The experience of growing up with two other siblings guided my interests in selecting the research topic of differential parenting techniques and their relation to children’s self-perception,” said Galindo. “With the advantage of longitudinal data, I further explored how the first two variables may relate to future problems and or prosocial behaviors.”

While at the EPA, Galindo had the chance to network with professionals in the field. “EPA was a wonderful gathering of like-minded peers and professionals in the field. I did my best to absorb as much of the information presented as possible,” said Galindo. “I felt my personal outlook on the field of psychology expand exponentially after attending several professional presentations and speaking with other undergraduate students from across the eastern United States about their own projects.”

Paulina Hernandez Galindo presented "Self-Perception as a Mediator in the Relation Between Differential Parental Treatment and Future Problem Behavior."

Jordyn Powell presented "Child-Reported Temperament Predicts Observed Positive Sibling Relationships."

Meganlyn Delaney presented "Do children see themselves through their parents' eyes?”

“Working with Dr. Vasquez-O’Brien has been a great learning experience,” said Galindo. “Being able to participate in the interviewing, information gathering and data analysis processes firsthand has enhanced the psychological education process immensely. I could not ask for a more helpful, encouraging and inspirational mentor,” said Galindo, who aspires for a career in forensic or clinical psychology to bridge the gap between psychology and the criminal justice system while also pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

Powell’s project was titled “Child-Reported Temperament Predicts Observed Positive Sibling Relationships,” and included 145 parent and sibling participants to measure the correlation between siblings and how their temper results in sibling conflict.

Delaney’s project was tilted “Do children see themselves through their parent’s eyes?” and examined parent-child relationships and how they can negatively or positively affect a child’s self-perception.

Galindo's poster board.

Powell's poster Board.

Delaney's poster board.

Founded in 1896, the EPA’s purpose is to advance the psychological science and profession through the dissemination of professional information and to allow members of the EPA to present the latest advances in professional and scientific work to their colleagues. EPA welcomes psychologists from all fields across the discipline.

Written by Bobbi Brown