USD Professor Awarded Grant to Study Behavioral Techniques

SAN DIEGO- University of San Diego Professor of Psychology Kristen McCabe has been awarded a $621,179 from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for her project entitled "Personalizing Parent Training Interventions for Culturally Diverse Families.”

The overarching goal of the proposed study is to develop and pilot test a personalization instrument, PersIn, that can be used to increase the benefits of Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) in culturally diverse families using Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).

“Historically speaking we have seen huge success rates with BPT interventions. It’s quite dramatic,” Dr. McCabe explains. “Success rates with Caucasian children and their families have been higher. Our study seeks to understand how to personalize PCIT so that families from all culturally groups see the benefit.”

BPT interventions been proven effective for young children with behavior problems. However, not all families benefit, and ethnic minority families in particular are less likely to enroll, engage, and improve in BPT. Personalization has the potential for significant public health impact because the approach is responsive to characteristics specific to individual families, and therefore can be used across a range of ethnic groups, including non-Hispanic Whites.

Dr. McCabe, and research partner May Yeh, Associate Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, will conduct research over the course of three years, involving 28 families with children between the ages of 2 and 7 from culturally diverse backgrounds. The grant went into effect on July 5, 2016.

USD students will participate in the grant from start to finish including videotaping and coding sessions, screening potential families, and recording and publishing data.

“Our goal,” says Dr. McCabe, “is to help parents become familiar with and learn to use techniques that can help their child. We hope to make the techniques more universally beneficial and to understand how to best adapt techniques across culturally diverse populations.”

Dr. McCabe received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in psychology and Spanish, and a Ph.D. from Wayne State University in child clinical psychology. She completed her American Psychiatric Association internship at the UCSD/San Diego VA Consortium. Her postdoctoral fellowship at the Rady Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Services Research Center was funded by NIMH.

To watch Dr. McCabe discuss her work, click here

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