Kristin Valentino’s research on evaluating the effectiveness of a brief relational intervention for maltreated preschool-aged children and their mothers is featured in a special section of Child Development. In order to help children facing maltreatment, researchers and clinicians first needed to address the heart of the problem. The relationship between the parent and child is key, she argues.
While working at a childhood bereavement center after college, Amy K. Nuttall Ph.D. ’15 saw firsthand how resilient kids can be. She was inspired to research parentification, or the act of children assuming adult caretaking roles in their families, in her graduate work in developmental psychology at Notre Dame. She now continues to explore the issue at Michigan State University, where she landed a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and directs the Family Stress Lab.
Valentino, who is currently working on a project to improve the relationships between maltreated children and their caregivers, has been selected to receive the American Psychological Association (APA) 2014 Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research in Child Maltreatment.
The pre-school years are the most formative for young brains. Notre Dame Psychologist Kristin Valentino sees both the promise and vulnerability of children at this stage of life. That’s why Valentino, the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Assistant Professor of Psychology, developed an intervention program designed to improve communication between mothers and maltreated preschoolers and, ultimately, lead to happier, healthier families.
Mothers who have experienced childhood abuse, neglect or other traumatic experiences show an unwillingness to talk with their children about the child’s emotional experiences, a new study from the University of Notre Dame shows.