My broad research examines how parent and family factors affect caregiving, family functioning, and children's psychological development and risk for psychopathology. Specifically, my main line of research has two mutually informative domains. First, I am interested in better understanding how and why mental illness and addiction among caregivers/parents shapes distinct aspects of parenting. This includes parental cognitions (how parents think about parenting and children's behavior) and parental behavior (how parents interact with their children and navigate distinct parenting challenges and situations). I view parenting as a distinct developmental context through which parents' psychological challenges could dynamically alter children's mental health trajectories.
Second, I am interested in how children's psychological development and well-being are impacted by their parents'/caregivers' mental health and substance use problems. Within this topic, I am curious about how children's risk for psychopathology develops and changes over time, and whether there are developmental consequences associated with outcomes that are typically viewed as adaptive, positive, or healthy (e.g., resilience). Relatedly, I am also curious about the distinct long-term psychological benefits and consequences associated with different ways children may cope with caregiver psychopathology and family adversity.
My tertiary interest examines how broader identity, socio-cultural, contextual factors and lived experiences directly and indirectly influence parenting, family functioning, parent/child mental health, and access to treatment resources. Lived experiences of interest include family homelessness, poverty, family conflict, maltreatment and neglect, identity marginalization, racism and discrimination, and neighborhood and generational trauma. This part of my work aims to unpack how parents and children from marginalized backgrounds develop and experience mental health challenges, and how we as social scientists can better address their needs (e.g., through new culturally-informed etiological models of psychopathology).
I examine these topics across multiple levels of analysis, exploring the unique processes and pathways through which individual, interpersonal, familial, and broader contextual factors may interact (or work in tandem) to promote or hinder psychological well-being in parents and children.
- Jacques, D. T., Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2021). Parsing alcohol-dependent mothers’ insensitivity to child distress: Longitudinal links with children’s affective and anxiety problems. Developmental psychology, 57(6), 900-912.
- Sturge-Apple, M.L., Jacques, D.T., Davies, P.T., & Cicchetti, D. (2021). Maternal Power Assertive Discipline and Children’s Adjustment in High-Risk Families: A Social Domain Theory Approach. Journal of Child and Family Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02127-7
- Jacques D.T., Sturge-Apple M.L., Davies P.T., Cicchetti, D. (2020). Maternal alcohol dependence and harsh caregiving across parenting contexts: The moderating role of child negative emotionality. Development and Psychopathology 32, 1509–1523. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579419001445