Monday, April 27, 2015

URSP Student Katherynn Barlow Researches Marital Distress on Parent-Adolescent Communication

As a junior, I am currently studying psychology, and while involved in numerous organizations on campus, I specifically enjoy spending my time working in the lab with families! I have had the opportunity to work in Dr. Tara Chaplin’s Parent-Adolescent Interaction Task Lab, a three-year longitudinal study examining numerous aspects of the parent-adolescent relationship and adolescent development. While working as a research assistant, I truly fell in love with the process of research and its methodical procedures. I knew I wanted to take part in adding to the current body of research and it was decided that I would examine the parenting behaviors towards the adolescent when the parent is undergoing marital distress for my project.
Throughout a regular week, I spend quite a bit of time running lab sessions or questionnaire sessions with the participants. Otherwise, I like to dedicate my time to coding the videotaped interactions between parents and adolescents, meeting with my mentor, or by working on data entry or analyses. An additional (and very important part) of my week is spent adding to my undergrad thesis or revising, revising, revising! It might get tiring, but I know with hard work and dedication I will be able to grow even more throughout this process. In fact, this week I discovered results that were not necessarily what I intended, but I also discovered my perseverance and dedication to this project is immense. No matter what happens statistically, it is the experience which I am forever grateful for.

Throughout this process, I have furthered my fascination with research and hope to continue on to graduate school where I can focus even more in depth on the study of children and adolescents. I know without a doubt I have a strong desire to be of service to struggling families and children, and whether it will be through counseling or research (or both!), I know this undergraduate experience is guiding me to where I need to be in order to do so.