Broad Research Areas
1. Developmental Expression and Factors Influencing the Trajectories of Anxious Emotion over Time.
Research in Dr Weems’s lab at the University of New Orleans examines the complex and dynamic expression of anxiety over time. In this figure, Roman numerals represent major trajectories in anxious emotion (I. stable elevated; II. decreasers; III. increasers; IV. stable low). An individual’s starting point is determined by biological, behavioral, cognitive, and social factors. Capital letters point out the possibility of normative influences on trajectories. The perspective suggests that these normative influences may be particularly relevant to the secondary features of anxiety-disordered emotion. For example, A) might represent the diminishing salience of separation anxiety in youth around age 10 or so, B) the increasing salience of mortality fears and generalized anxiety/worry concerns around age 10 or so, C) the increasing salience of social fears in adolescence, and D) the emergence of panic disorder. Arabic numerals point out that additional factors may be experienced and other influences may impact the trajectory in a child or adolescent’s anxious emotion. Lowercase letters point out that the influence is complex and may always undergo redirection given the experience of additional biological, behavioral, cognitive, and social risk or protective factors.
From: Weems, C. F. (2008). Developmental trajectories of childhood anxiety: Identifying continuity and change in anxious emotion. Developmental Review, 28, 488-502.
2. Severe Stress on Socio-Emotional Development and Interventions Designed to Mitigate Impact
The Weems lab has also focused on examining severe stress on socio-emotional development and is involved in testing interventions designed to mitigate the impact.
Severe Stress is Associated with Altered Hormonal Responses
Altered Hormonal Responding is Linked to Changes in Important Brain Structures Such as the Hippocampus (Brain region associated with memory)
Last modified 11/10/2010