Lab Mission

Our lab aims to identify modifiable risk factors for the development and worsening of depression and suicidality (i.e., suicidal thoughts and behavior) among adolescents. Our lab seeks to identify who and when adolescents are most at risk for suicidality in real time and across development, with a particular focus on sleep and social media as both potential risk factors and opportunities for early intervention. Our research applies a developmentally-informed approach and uses novel technological methods (e.g., smartphone sensing, ecological momentary assessment, actigraphy) to examine risk factors in the real world that are dynamic and modifiable. Our goal is to improve the identification of adolescent suicide risk, as well as the generalizability and scalability of research and interventions aimed at preventing depression and suicide across diverse populations.

What

drives the increase in depression and suicidality during the adolescent period? ​

Our research focuses on developmental factors that also change during the adolescent period, including social and environmental stressors, social media, and sleep and circadian processes. We often evaluate these processes in concert with other risk factors, such as puberty, cognitive-affective vulnerabilities, and the biological stress response.

Who

is most at risk for depression and suicidality during adolescence?

Our research examines which adolescents are most at risk and through what mechanisms (across individual, familial, and systemic levels), particularly focused on gender disparities that emerge during adolescence.

When

are adolescents most at risk for worsening depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behaviors?

Our research focuses on understanding the dynamic fluctuations and patterns of suicide risk processes in real time, with the ultimate goal to prevent the onset of suicidal ideation and transition to suicidal behavior.

 

 

 

 

How

can we improve our understanding, detection, and prevention of suicide risk among adolescents?

Our lab uses innovative methods to capture risk processes in real time (smartphone sensing, actigraphy, ecological momentary assessment).

We conduct clinical interviews, surveys, and focus groups to learn from our participants to better understand individuals’ unique experiences and how broader systemic issues affect suicide risk in different communities.

Community Engagement and Public Outreach

Our lab aims to develop a research-community pipeline that enhances the quality of our research and its access to the public and local community. To this end, we seek community input in our research (e.g., focus groups, Youth Advisory Board) and engage our participants as citizen scientists to ensure our research is relevant and accessible across different communities. Our lab is actively involved in disseminating research in academic outlets, such as peer-reviewed journals and at conferences, which are important scientific endeavors. We also recognize that the research pipeline often ends there. Our goal is to disseminate our work and its potential impact more broadly by writing articles for popular press media, creating accessible media (e.g., infographics, social media), and connecting with local and national organizations, schools, and community organizations to share our research and to provide mental health education and resources.