McDonald, lead author on the research and a professor of psychology, researches specific child adjustment problems, such as aggression and antisocial behavior, and how they are associated with exposure to family conflict and violence.
2010 a year of advances for SMU scientific researchers at the vanguard of those helping civilization
See a sampling of the work they tackle, from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, to immigration, diabetes, evolution, childhood obesity and more. Besides working in campus labs and within the Dallas-area community, SMU scientists conduct research throughout the world. Continue reading
The research found that abusive mothers, who are taught parenting skills and given emotional support, can improve their parenting skills, the researchers say. Continue reading
Abusive mothers improve their parenting after home visits, classes and emotional support from therapists
Each year, U.S. child welfare agencies log more than 3 million reports of child abuse and neglect involving nearly 6 million children.
Practicing assertiveness skills on virtual-reality “dates” may help women prevent sexual victimization
Women can choose from four avatars when using SMU’s virtual reality technology to learn skills for resisting sexual coercion and rape.
In a program at Southern Methodist University, young women are using virtual reality to practice how to recognize and resist unwanted sexual advances in the real world. Continue reading
If children feel threatened by even very low levels of violence between their parents, they may be at increased risk for developing trauma symptoms, new research suggests.
A study by SMU psychologists found that children who witness violence between their mother and her intimate partner report fewer trauma symptoms if they don’t perceive the violence as threatening. The research highlights the importance of assessing how threatened a child feels when his or her parents are violent toward one another.
Psychology Professors Ernest Jouriles and Renee McDonald, with Guildhall Lecturer Jeff Perryman and Deputy Director Tony Cuevas, are collaborating on a role-playing program that combines virtual reality with behavioral insight to help teach and test sexual assault avoidance techniques.
The program’s environment of a rain-lashed car parked in an isolated area immerses women into not just a location, but also a “conversation” with a potential attacker.
Each year more than 1 million children in the United States are brought to shelters to escape family violence. Each of their families reports, on average, more than 60 acts of aggression at home during the past year, ranging from pushes and shoves to hits and kicks. More than half of the families report an incident involving a knife or gun.
“Research that studies children who witness violence in the home is fundamental to helping them,” says Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place in Dallas. The Family Research Center, a new program of SMU’s Psychology Department in Dedman College, works with shelters such as The Family Place to address the mental health problems of children facing domestic violence.