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Brooke Vitulli ’22: An Introduction to Summer Research

Brooke Vitulli '22

Hello!

My name is Brooke Vitulli and I am a rising junior and a psychology major. My hometown is Long Island, New York (Smithtown, specifically, for anyone who knows the area). I am so excited to have the opportunity to do research over the summer!

Before I discuss my specific study, I would like to share a little more about me so that you can get to know me better. At school, I participate in two clubs that I am very passionate about: Active Minds and Admission Ambassadors.

Active Minds is a mental health advocacy club where we have open discussions about various mental health topics and put on events to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. I have been able to find my voice as an advocate through this club and will be representing Active Minds as one of their co-presidents this upcoming fall.

Admission Ambassadors also allows me to use my voice, but in a different way. Through this club, I am able to represent the college through talking to prospective students and families. My favorite part of this club is being able to have a prospective student shadow me for the day where I take the student to class and lunch. Being a part of this club is truly a full-circle moment because as a prospective student, I participated in many of the events run by Admission Ambassadors and knew I wanted to become one of them when I got to PC.

Now, everyone’s favorite part, here are a few fun facts about me!

  1. My favorite band is Panic! at the Disco and I have seen them in concert four times.
  2. I have gone dog-mushing on a glacier in Alaska.
  3. I have broken my left elbow, not once, but twice in the same spot; the first time was playing balloon volleyball in my living room and the second was on the first day of second grade falling off the monkey bars.

Now that you have a better sense of who I am, let me introduce you to my research. The title of my study is “Parental Response to Children’s Negative Emotions as a Mediator between Parental Coping Strategies and Children’s Symptoms of Psychopathology.” I know that this title may be overwhelming for those of you who are not well-versed in psychology. Simply, I am exploring how parent’s coping strategies affect ​how these children behave and express their own emotions (in particular, when these behaviors and emotions veer toward disorder).  Then, I am exploring whether how parents respond to their children when their children are upset explains the relationship between parent coping and children’s symptoms. Basically, when parents struggle to cope, they may be more likely to respond poorly to their children’s negative emotions and this, in turn, may lead to more symptoms of psychopathology. That’s what I’m going to study and test!

This study is specific to children in the 5- to 9-year-old age range in two-parent households. To collect data on these specific constructs, I am using data from three different surveys that the parents fill out: the Coping Strategies Inventory- Short Form (CSI-S), Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale (CCNES), and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). My original study is part of a larger study in the Family & Development Lab on campus run by my faculty mentor, Dr. Kelly Warmuth. I have been volunteering in this lab since the beginning of my sophomore year and am excited to continue this research throughout the summer and take on a larger role within the lab. Because my study is part of a larger study, I also conduct Zoom visits with the children where I ask them questions about their family (Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict for Younger Children (CPIC-Y)) and we play a fun matching game (Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices). My other responsibilities include recruitment and scheduling families.

I look forward to keeping you all updated on my research throughout the summer on this blog!

Best,

Brooke Vitulli ’22

Read Brooke Vitulli ’22: Collecting Data

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