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.
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. Specifically, 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.
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.
Bilingualism and Socio-Emotional Development in Dual Language Learners
This project seeks to understand the consequences of the bilingual experience on socio-emotional development among young children growing up in language minority homes. In the first stage of the project (a pilot study), we have recruited and assessed a group of preschool-age children (aged 4 to 5 years) from Spanish-speaking Mexican American families and Chinese-speaking Chinese American families from Head Start centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Children’s dual language proficiency, executive functions, and socio-emotional development were assessed with a multi-methods and multi-informants battery. 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.
This study is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Yuuko Uchikoshi Tonkovich at UC-Davis (http://education.ucdavis.edu/faculty-profile/yuuko-uchikoshi-tonkovich)
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 Dr. Jeffrey Cookston at San Francisco State University (http://developmentalpsych.sfsu.edu/jcookston) and Dr. Sharlene Wolchik at Arizona State University (https://psychology.clas.asu.edu/faculty/sharlene-wolchik), 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)
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.
Data collection for this project was completed in 2000-2004. Results of the study have been published in a number of journal articles.
* Denote student authors/presenters.
1. Zhou, Q., Chen, S. H.*, Cookston, J., & Wolchik, S. A. (in press). Evaluating the cultural fit of the New Beginnings Parent Training Program for divorced Asian American mothers: A pilot study. Special issue on Culture and Prevention, Asian American Journal of Psychology.
2. Lee, E. H.*, Zhou, Q., Ly, J.*, Main, A.*, Tao, A.*, & Chen, S. H.* (2014). Neighborhood characteristics, parenting styles, and children’s behavioral problems in Chinese American immigrant families. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20, 202-212.
3. Li, X.*, Zou, H., Liu, Y., Zhou, Q. (in press). The relationships of family socioeconomic status, parent-adolescent conflict, and filial piety to adolescents’ family functioning in Mainland China. Journal of Child and Family Studies. doi: 10.1007/s10826-012-9683-0
4. Chen, S. H.*, Hua, M.*, Zhou, Q., Tao, A.*, Lee, E. H.*, Ly, J.*, & Main, A.* (2014). Cultural orientations and child adjustment in Chinese American immigrant families. Developmental Psychology, 50, 189-201. doi: 10.1037/a0032473
5. Muhtadie, L.*, Zhou, Q., Eisenberg, N., & Wang, Y. (2013). Predicting Chinese children’s internalizing problems: the unique and interactive effects of temperament and parenting. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 653-667.
6. Tao, A.*, Zhou, Q., Lau, N.*, & Liu, H.* (2013). Chinese American immigrant mothers’ discussion of emotions with children: Relations to cultural orientations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44, 478-501.
7. Lee, E. H.*, Zhou, Q., Eisenberg, N., & Wang, Y. (2013). Bidirectional relations between temperament and parenting styles in Chinese children. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 37, 57-67.
8. Zhou, Q., Tao, A.*, Chen, S. H.*, Main, A.*, Lee, E. H.*, Ly, J.*, Hua, M.*, & Li, X.* (2012). Asset and protective factors for Asian American children’s mental health adjustment. Child Development Perspectives, 6, 312-319.
9. 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.
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