Clinical Child Psychology Program


Lab Projects

Our lab is conducting several research studies designed to better understand pediatric health behaviors and develop digital assessment tools to measure individual behavior patterns.


Title:  ReACT: An Adaptive Mobile Health Intervention for Adolescent Asthma

Investigators:  Christopher Cushing, Ph.D., David Fedele, Ph.D., Elizabeth McQuaid, Ph.D., Susanna Patton, Ph.D., Josh Smyth, Ph.D., Kandace Flemming, Ph.D., Sreekala Prabhakaran, M.D., & Selina Gierer, D.O.

Purpose:  This project will develop and evaluate an adaptive intervention for adolescents with persistent asthma that is delivered via smartphones called ReACT. Our intervention program aims to help adolescents take 80% of the prescribed doses of their preventative asthma medication by delivering timely support to overcome barriers to adherence. A successful project would have a major public health impact because asthma is a leading cause of morbidity in youth, and poor adherence is a major driver of impaired health due to asthma.

Status:  Enrolling


Title:  Micro Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (microSMBG)

Investigators:  Christopher Cushing, Ph.D., Susanna Patton, Ph.D., & Mark Clements, M.D., Ph.D.

Purpose:  The purpose of this study is to combine data from physical activity sensors, continuous blood glucose monitors, and self-reported ecological momentary assessment (EMA) data to better understand the microtemporal processess associated with blood glucose self-monitoring in adolescents with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). These data will be combined with information from qualitiative interviews to generate user-centered intervention content to address barriers associated with barriers to self-monitoring of blood glucose in T2D. 

Status:  Enrolling

Teen Health Project

Title:  Teen Health Study

Investigators:  Carolina Bejarano, M.A. & Christopher Cushing, Ph.D.

Purpose:  We are conducting this study to better understand adolescent health. Participants are enrolled in the study for 10 days total. Participants will complete a survey each evening for a week before the lab visit on different health behaviors via mobile phone. Each of the evening surveys will take approximately 10-15 minutes. Participants will also attend a lab visit after a week of taking the evening surveys. This is a 2 hour session where participants complete some activities on a computer and iPad, and answer some survey questions. At the lab visit, participants will also receive complimentary snack food and a free water bottle. 

Status:  Completed

NUDGE Project

Title:  NUDGE (Network Underwritten Dynamic Goals Engine): A Pilot Project

Investigators:  Christopher Cushing, Ph.D.

Purpose:  The purpose of the project is to pilot test the effect of an automated chat bot on adolescent physical activity. The NUDGE bot sends four kinds of messages each day that a participant is enrolled in the study. Participants are asked to: 1) set a physical activity goal, 2) self-monitor their own physical activity, 3) read a message providing feedback about their goal attainment, and 4) read a messaging reminding them of their activity goal for the next day. The intervention is personalized to each adolescent by recording responses in a database and then piping previous assessments into future intervention content.

Status:  Completed

Abdominal Pain Project

Title:  Precision Medicine in Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Individualized Assessment for Tailored Treatment

Investigators:  Christopher Cushing, Ph.D., Jennifer Schurman, Ph.D., & Craig Friesen, M.D.

Purpose:  The purpose of the project is to determine the feasibility and acceptability of a precision medicine approach to care in pediatric abdominal pain.  Participants will provide 14-days worth of data on symptoms, mood, and other psychosocial variables that will then be used clinically to develop an individualized profile of pain triggers and clinical recommendations.  The project will be evaluated by determining the feasibility of capturing the data and providing clinical recommendations, and patient satisfaction with the reports.

Status:  Completed

Affect Health And Behavior study (AHAB)

Title:  Ecological Momentary Assessment of Affect Health And Behavior

Investigators:  Christopher Cushing, Ph.D.

Purpose:  AHAB uses innovative assessment approaches (e.g. smartphones and body sensors) to study physical activity, affect, and sleep in adolescents in a free-living environment.  We aim to enroll 100 adolescents (13-18 year olds) to complete ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) via mobile phone over a period of 20 days.  Objective measures of sleep and physical activity are collected using wrist-worn accelerometers and a trunk-worn physiological monitoring system.  This study will contribute valuable insights into the reciprocal effects of moment-to-moment mood, fatigue, energy, social support, and sleep on adolescent physical activity.

Status:  Completed


Title:  Smartphones-Promoting Exercise through Ecology (S-PETE)

Investigators:  Christopher Cushing, Ph.D. & Chris Crick, Ph.D.

Purpose:  The S-PETE project was a feasibility and acceptability study aimed at determining whether current smartphone and sensor technologies were adequate to assess mood, activity, sleep, and physiology in real-time. The project ultimately led to a protocol that the lab now uses to collect data in several subsequent projects.

Status:  Completed

Healthy Pokes

Title:  Healthy Pokes SMS Messaging Intervention

Investigators:  Christopher Cushing, Ph.D.

Purpose:  The Healthy Pokes program was an automated server-side platform for delivering tailored messages to prompt physical activity in adolescents. The intervention effect was assessed using the novel aggregated N-of-1 Randomized Controlled Trial design proposed in Cushing, Walters, and Hoffman (2014)

Status:  Completed

Review of App Store

Title:  Is There an App for That? Translational Science of Pediatric Behavior Change for Physical Activity and Dietary Interventions: A Systematic Review

Investigators:  Erin Brannon, M.S. & Christopher Cushing, Ph.D.

Purpose:  The purpose of the project was to review the literature on pediatric health promotion and determine what intervention characteristics improve physical activity and dietary behavior in children and adolescents. We also reviewed the iTunesTM app store to determine the correspondence between mobile apps and the evidence base.

Status:  Completed


Title:  Program Evaluation of the Alvin Ailey Dance Camp

Investigators: Christopher Cushing, Ph.D.

Purpose:  The Alvin Ailey Dance Camp is a 6-week summer camp for children and families who are considered at-risk due to low socioeconomic status and exposure to adverse life events.  Campers participate in dance classes and classes aimed to enhance their ability to abstain from drugs, effectively resolve peer conflicts, and cope with violence and adversity in their schools and neighborhoods.  AileyCamp evaluates families before and after camp to measure changes in psychological adjustment, risk factors, psychosocial problems, adaptive qualities, and parenting attitudes.

Status:  This program evaluation has been ongoing in our group since 2014.  Read more about the Alvin Ailey Dance Camp ».

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