My research can be broadly defined as understanding the developmental pathways towards behavioral problems and competence in childhood and adolescence. Taking a developmental psychopathology perspective, I am particularly interested in the following processes/aspects of development: a) temperament, or the constitutionally-based individual differences in emotional, motor, and attentional reactivity and regulation; b) emotion-related processing, including emotion regulation, emotionality, appraisal of and coping with stressors; c) family socialization, including parenting, parent-child and family relationship; and d) the larger socio-cultural context, including cultural values and norms. I investigate these questions in a variety of child/adolescent populations, including normative children and children at risk for maladjustment (e.g., children from divorced families, immigrant children), children of different cultural/ethnic backgrounds (e.g., European American, Chinese American, and native Chinese children). I use a variety of research designs, including cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, within-culture and cross-culture comparative studies, and naturalistic/correlational and intervention/experimental studies. A multi-method, multi-reporter approach is used to assess the core constructs in my research (e.g., temperament, parenting, mental health adjustment), including questionnaire reports by parents, teachers, children, and peers, structured interviews, behavioral observation in laboratory and naturalistic settings, and neuropsychological testing.
Temperament, Stress & Coping, and Adjustment
My colleagues and I have been examining the additive and interactive effects of temperament regulation (e.g., effortful control) and emotionality (e.g., anger/frustration) on children's behavioral problems and social competence, the relative contributions of effortful versus reactive control/regulation to children's emotional expressivity, and the links of empathy to children's social functioning in longitudinal samples of normative and at-risk children. I am also interested in how children react to and cope with stressors (e.g., negative life events), and the roles of stressors and coping in the development of mental health problems. I have investigated the associations between temperament and children's appraisal of and coping with stressors, and whether appraisal and coping mediate temperamental differences in the development of externalizing and internalizing problems.
My interest in family socialization focuses on aspects of the family context that relate to or interact with children's temperament and emotion-related processing (e.g., parenting styles, parental reaction to children's emotions, parental expressivity, and parental socialization of children's appraisals of and coping with stressors). For example, we have found that children's effortful control--an aspect of temperamental regulation--and empathic responding to other's negative emotions partly mediated the links of parental warmth and positive expressivity to children's externalizing problems. Moreover, we found that children's coping efficacy--the belief that one can cope with the stressors--mediated the link between authoritarian parenting and child externalizing problems.
The third part of my research focuses on cross-cultural differences/similarities in children's emotion-related processing, its socialization, and implications for mental health and competence. For example, in our within-culture and cross-cultural comparative research, we found that although cultural differences exist in the means/norms of certain temperament (e.g., effortful control and anger/frustration) or parenting characteristics (e.g., authoritative and authoritarian parenting, parental expressivity), the associations between these constructs and children's psychological adjustment (e.g., behavioral problems, social competence, and academic achievement) are similar across cultures. These findings suggest that there are cross-cultural similarities in the developmental processes underlying behavioral problems and competence.
Socio-emotional Development and Family Socialization of Native Chinese Children
In collaboration with Professor Yun Wang at the National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning (Beijing Normal University) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2762348/), I have conducted a two-wave (3.8 years apart) longitudinal study to examine the emotional, social, and academic development and family socialization environment of 425 Chinese school-age children in Beijing. Questionnaire ratings (completed by parents, teachers, children, and peers) were the primary method of assessment. The study had three goals:
- To study the development of emotional competence (e.g., emotion regulation, coping with stressors), behavioral adjustment, and social competence in Chinese children;
- To study the interplay and interaction between parenting and child temperament on Chinese children's socio-emotional development and behavioral adjustment;
- To test the generalizability of Western theories on parenting, temperament, and children's socio-emotional development in the Chinese culture.
Data collection for this project was completed in 2000-2004. Results of the study have been published in a number of journal articles.
The Risk and Protective Factors for Mental Health Adjustment in 1st- and 2nd- Generation Chinese American Immigrant Children
Funded by Foundation for Child Development Young Scholars Program (http://www.fcd-us.org/programs/programs_show.htm?doc_id=447982), this 3-year longitudinal study examines the risk and protective factors for mental health adjustment and competence in a socioeconomically diverse sample of 258 first and second generation Chinese American (CA) immigrant children starting in 1st and 2nd grade. A multi-method (questionnaire, behavioral task, and neuropsychological and academic achievement test) and multi-informant (parent, teacher, and child report) methodological approach is used in assessment. This project will have implications for public policy and educational and clinical practices serving children of immigrant families. Specifcially, the study can help develop instruments for identifying immigrant children at high risk for maladjustment, and provide the knowledge base for developing effective interventions for reducing maladjustment and promoting competence for children of immigrant families.
The specific aims are:
a) to identify the cultural (e.g., acculturation and enculturation), family (e.g., socioeconomic status, parenting), school, neighborhood, and child individual (e.g., self-regulation and cognitive control) risk and protective factors that predict CA children’s mental health problems, academic and social competence;
b) to understand the mediating and moderating processes underlying the operation of risk and protective factors for CA children’s adjustment.
We have completed two waves of assessments (Wave 1 in 2007-2009 and Wave 2 in 2009-2011), and are currently working on data analyses.
Language Development and Emotion Regulation in Mexican American and Chinese American Preschoolers
This project seeks to understand the relations among language, emotion, and cognition involved in the development of emotion regulation among monolingual and bilingual children. In the first phrase of the project (a pilot study), we will recruit a group of monolingual and bilingual Chinese American and Mexican American preschool-age children (aged 4 to 5 years) and their families from Head Start Preschool programs in the San Francisco bay area. Children’s language proficiency, emotion regulation, and effortful control will be assessed using standardized language tests, behavioral and cognitive tasks. Parents will complete questionnaires on family environments and children’s socio-emotional development. This study is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Yuuko Uchikoshi at UC-Davis (http://education.ucdavis.edu/faculty-profile/yuuko-uchikoshi-tonkovich) and Dr. Carlos Valiente at Arizona State University (https://webapp4.asu.edu/directory/person/106419).
The specific aims are:
a) To compare bilingual and monolingual preschoolers on measures of emotion regulation;
b) To study children’s effortful control as a potential mediator in the relation between bilingual status and emotion regulation.
With the rapid growth of bilingual and language minority children in the United States, the project has the potential to inform educational and clinical practices aimed at promoting socio-emotional adjustment and academic competence in bilingual and language minority children.
Cultural Adaptation Study of the New Beginnings Program - An Evidence-Based Prevention Program for Divorced Mothers
The New Beginnings Program (NBP) was developed by Drs. Sharlene Wolchik and Irwin Sandler at Arizona State University (ASU). This 10-week parent education program focuses on teaching mothers parenting skills to help their children adjust to parental divorce or separation. Randomized controlled studies have shown that the NBP provides many short-term and long-term benefits for children from divorced families, including decreased mental health problems, lower substance use, and better school grades. Because the efficacy trials of the NBP were conducted with predominantly Caucasian, middle-income, and relatively educated mothers, a crucial question to solve before conducting effectiveness trials and disseminating the program to a broader population is: How to engage a more diverse group of families and deliver the program in a way that fits with their values, preferences, and diversity of life circumstances?
In collaboration with researchers at ASU (http://prc.asu.edu/), we have conducted a pilot study on cultural adaptation of the NBP for Asian American families. The study involved delivering to program to groups of Asian American divorced mothers to evaluate whether the program was engaging to participants and sensitive to their specific needs, preferences, cultural values, and concerns. A multi-method approach (including questionnaire, interview, behavioral observation, and focus group) was used to evaluate the program's cultural sensitivity.
For more information about my research, please visit our Culture & Family Laboratory website (http://zhoulab.berkeley.edu)
Instructor, PSY131 (undergraduate lecture) Developmental Psychopathology
Instructor, PSY205A/B (graduate lecture) Psychological Statistics and Data Analysis: Part I (Analysis of Variance), Part II (Multiple Regression)
Instructor, PSY230A (graduate seminar) Proseminar in Clinical Psychology
Instructor, PSY234G (clinical graduate practicum) Specialty Clinical: Cultural Adaptation of an Evidence-Based Parent Training Program for Divorced Mothers
* Denote student authors/presenters.
1. Tao, A.*, Zhou, Q., Lau, N.*, & Liu, H.* (in press). Chinese American immigrant mothers’ discussion of emotions with children: Relations to cultural orientations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.
2. Muhtadie, L.*, Zhou, Q., Eisenberg, N., & Wang, Y. (in press). Predicting Chinese children’s internalizing problems: the unique and interactive effects of temperament and parenting. Development and Psychopathology.
3. Zhou, Q., Tao, A.*, Chen, S. H.*, Main, A.*, Lee, E.*, Ly, J.*, Hua, M.*, & Li, X.* (in press). Asset and protective factors for Asian American children’s mental health adjustment. Child Development Perspectives.
4. Chen, S. H.*, Kennedy, M.*, & Zhou, Q. (2012). Parents’ expression and discussion of emotion in the multilingual family: Does language matter? Perspectives in Psychological Science, 7(4), 365-383.
5. Ly, J.*, Zhou, Q., Chu, K.*, & Chen, S. H.* (2012). Teacher-child relationship quality and academic achievement of Chinese American children from immigrant families. Journal of School Psychology, 50, 535-553.
6. Zhou, Q., Chen, S. H.*, & Main, A.* (2012). Commonalities and differences in the study of children’s effortful control and executive function: A call for an integrated model of self-regulation. Child Development Perspectives, 6, 112-121.
7. Chen, S. H.*, Zhou, Q., Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., & Wang, Y. (2011). Parental expressivity in Chinese families: Relations to parenting styles and children’s psychological adjustment. Parenting: Science and Practice, 11, 288-307.
8. Main, A.*, Zhou, Q., Ma, Y., Luecken, L. J., & Liu, X. (2011). Relations of SARS-related stressors and coping to Chinese college students’ psychological adjustment during the 2003 Beijing SARS epidemic. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58, 410-423.
9. Tao, A.*, Zhou, Q., & Wang, Y. (2010). Parental reactions to children’s negative emotions: Prospective relations to Chinese children’s psychological adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 135-144.
10. Zhou, Q., Main, A.*, & Wang, Y. (2010). The relations of temperamental effortful control and anger/frustration to Chinese children’s academic achievement and social adjustment: A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102, 180-196.
11. Zhou, Q.,Lengua, L. J., & Wang, Y. (2009). The relations of temperament reactivity and regulation to children’s adjustment problems in China and the United States. Developmental Psychology, 45, 764-781.
12. Zhou, Q., Sandler, I. N., Millsap, R. E., Wolchik, S. A., & Dawson-McClure, S. R. (2008). Mother-child relationship quality and effective discipline as mediators of the six-year effects of the New Beginnings Program for children from divorced families. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 579-594.
13. Zhou, Q., Wang, Y., Eisenberg, N., Wolchik, S., Tein, J-Y., & Deng, X. (2008). Relations of parenting and temperament to Chinese children’s experience of negative life events, coping efficacy, and externalizing problems. Child Development, 79, 493-513.
14. Zhou, Q., Eisenberg, N., Wang, Y., & Reiser, M. (2004). Chinese children’s effortful control and dispositional anger/frustration: Relations to parenting styles and children’s social functioning. Developmental Psychology, 40, 352-366.