Behavioral Pediatrics and Health Promotion Research Program
This research program focuses on behavioral and developmental aspects of health and health-related behaviors in the pediatric population, which extends from infancy to young adulthood. The program supports research and research training on biobehavioral and developmental aspects of health, such as health risk behaviors, health promotion behaviors, and cross-cutting issues. Research studies of interest include: individual, interpersonal, and social factors; environmental and contextual factors; and interactions of genes and environment as they relate to health and health behaviors. Basic, descriptive, interventional, preventive, and translational research studies are welcome, as are longitudinal, cost-effectiveness studies, and studies utilizing secondary data analysis. This program focuses on the establishment and maintenance of healthy behaviors and on behavior changes that promote healthier lifestyles.
Health risk behaviors. Many health risk behaviors have their origins in childhood and can have negative effects across the lifespan. Some of these risk behaviors include substance use, early sexual activity, eating disorders, bullying, and other antisocial behaviors. Examples that might address these behaviors include studies of risk and resilience factors, their precursors, causal pathways, mediators, and moderators, and studies of motivation, decision making, and behavioral control; gene by environment interactions associated with risk behaviors; and individuals at elevated risk of behavioral, health, and developmental problems due to premature birth or intrauterine exposure to drugs or toxins.
Health promotion research. The promotion of healthier lifestyles and prevention of diseases for the pediatric population are important areas of research. Health promotion topics of interest include health literacy, communication and education; health practices and interventions, positive youth development; and disease prevention. Relevant to health promotion research are studies of health practices and services; disease prevention programs, including behavioral and developmental aspects of obesity prevention; behavioral aspects of acute and chronic disease treatment; adherence to medical and therapeutic regimens; and prevention of school drop-out and academic underachievement.
Cross-cutting issues. Research is needed in several broad areas of health research that are germane to both health risk behaviors and health promotion in youth. Some examples include studies of sleep, pain, stress, consent, and assent; health disparities; and the influence of religiosity/spirituality, of alternative methods of treatment such as non-pharmacologic and/or mind-body techniques, and of media and electronic technology use and exposure on health promotion, disease prevention, and risk behaviors.
Program Director: Lynne Haverkos