Harvard Catalyst Profiles

Contact, publication, and social network information about Harvard faculty and fellows.

Login and Edit functionaility are currrently unavailable.



The research uses general population epidemiologic surveys to study the impact of stressful life experience on depression, anxiety, and nonspecific psychological distress. The particular focus of the research is on the range of psychosocial resources and vulnerability factors that can modify the impact of stress on these mental health outcomes. An understanding of these modifiers will advance theory and help inform effects to develop preventive interventions in high-risk populations.

The research proposed during the five-year period would focus on four bodies of data collected by the applicant: (1) a two-wave national survey of approximately 3000 adults funded by NIA including information on stress, stress modifiers, and mood, as well as the DIS measure of MDD; (2) a two-wave panel survey of married couples in the Detroit Metropolitan Area funded by NIMH including information on stress, stress modifiers, and a number of DIS diagnostic measures; (3) a two-wave panel survey of twin-pairs from the Virginia Twin Registry funded by NIMH and a survey of their parents, focusing on early childhood predictors of adult stress reactivity and gene environment interactions; and (4) a daily diary study of married couples focusing on the relationship between day-to-day variation in mood and daily stress.

In addition to continued analyses of these data, the candidate would use the funding during a renewal period to increase his professional growth in two areas. First, he would build on his collaboration in the Virginia twin survey by taking coursework in genetic epidemiology and biostatistical methods of genetic epidemiologic analysis. Second, he would increase his expertise in life course psychopathology by participating in the MacArthur Foundation consortium in midlife development. Both of these activities would prepare the candidate better to move his work in the direction of understanding the influences of early life experience on later adult psychopathology both through intergenerational genetic transmission and vertical cultural transmission of parental characteristics and through the creation of early life resilience and vulnerabilities which affect reactivity to stress later in life.

Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.