Child Psychiatry & Psychology Research

Research is a critical component of the work of the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie Children’s. Presently, the department’s research focuses on three main areas:

Psychological Aspects of Children’s Physical Health Issues

In this area, Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD, is conducting an NIH-funded study examining a treatment to promote resilience in teens with Type 1 diabetes. Sigita Plioplys, MD, is a leader in a multi-site study of the factors associated with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (conversion disorder). Kelly Lowry, PhD, is studying the relationship between parenting and obesity during the critical preschool years. With colleagues in Gastroenterology, John Lavigne, PhD, is examining the psychological factors associated with unexplained pediatric abdominal pain.

Neuropsychological Aspects of Children’s Health Problems

Frank Zelko, PhD, is studying the neuropsychological effects of a variety of conditions, including epilepsy, concussion, disorders of autonomic regulation, systemic lupus erythematosus and acute liver failure (with or without transplant).

Risk Factors Associated with the Development & Treatment of Children’s Psychiatric Disorders

Several projects are active in this area. Presently, Rebecca Ford–Paz, PhD, is evaluating stakeholder perceptions of cognitive–behavioral therapy for depressed Latino youth and community-based participatory research to design and evaluate culturally relevant community–based depression/suicide prevention interventions for Latino youth. Tali Raviv, PhD, is studying the psychological impact of poverty, maltreatment and trauma on children, while Karen Gouze, PhD, and John Lavigne, PhD, are completing an NIMH-funded study examining the risk factors associated with the development of disruptive behavior, anxiety, and depression in young children. These research endeavors help us better understand the psychological issues of children and adolescents, and develop interventions that will allow them to thrive.