Current Projects

Youth’s Exposure to Community Violence

Community violence has profound implications for youth development. Youth who are exposed to community violence are at risk for a variety of psychological and behavioral difficulties, including poor academic performance, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. All of the research being conducted in the lab currently relies on a resilience framework to identify risk and protective factors for exposure to community violence. Relying on a resilience framework draws attention to the importance of understanding health and positive functioning while also illuminating protective factors that can directly assist in the promotion of intervention efforts and programs.

After-School Activity Study (ASAS)

Research has demonstrated that certain after-school activities are associated with exposure to community violence (Kennedy & Ceballo, 2013; Goldner et al., 2011; Richards et al., 2004). This study aims to build upon these findings by further examining precisely what types of activities and activity characteristics serve as protective buffers to violence exposure. More specifically, the goal of this study is to identify the characteristics of after-school activities, within schools, homes, and neighborhoods, that protect adolescents from exposure to community violence and the adverse effects of that violence. The sample includes 500 Latino adolescents surveyed over a 2-year period, from the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States. This study will also examine other protective factors, such as parent-child communication, culturally- specific values like familismo (e.g., prioritizing family unity), and religiosity/spirituality.

Daily Activities Study (DAS)

This study will recruit a subsample of 100 adolescents from the ASAS to participate in a daily diary study of experiences with community violence. By utilizing daily diary methods to explore adolescents’ after-school activities, experiences with community violence, and academic and psychological functioning, this study addresses one of the greatest limitations in the existing literature on community violence exposure. Whereas the majority of existing studies rely upon retrospective measures of adolescents’ experiences with community violence, the DAS will investigate youths’ experiences with violence as it occurs, providing new and unique data about the temporal associations between adolescents’ after-school activities, experience of violent incidents, and indicators of adolescent functioning.

After-School Activity Interview Study (ASIS)

This interview study seeks to develop a rich understanding of Latino youth’s participation in after-school activities, experiences with exposure to violence, and strategies for coping with violence. Specifically, this study will explore how different characteristics of after-school activities (e.g., school- or community-based, adult supervision, peer involvement, etc.) and violence exposure (e.g., proximity, severity, etc.) are perceived  and experienced by adolescents. The sample includes 50 Latino adolescents residing in Detroit, Michigan.

Program in Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) – Secondary Data Analysis

The lab is currently conducting secondary data analyses using longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). The PHDCN data was drawn from a random, multiracial sample of 6,228 children and mothers residing in Chicago. Several studies are investigating: 1) the impact of mothers’ own exposure to community violence on mothers’ depressive symptomatology and parenting, 2) the relation between parenting and adolescents’ community violence exposure over time and whether this relation is mediated by unstructured socializing with peers, 3) the desensitization hypothesis whereby youth who are chronically exposed to high levels of violence become emotionally numb or “desensitized” to violence over time, and 4) factors that determine Latina mothers’ knowledge and awareness of their children’s exposure to community violence.

Colombia Neighborhood Project

The Colombia Neighborhood Study is a qualitative investigation of children’s and adolescents’ violence exposure in Colombia. This project was undertaken to explore youths’ experiences with violence exposure within Colombia’s historically tumultuous social context, as well as to develop an in-depth understanding of the various factors or “dimensions” that make violence exposure subjectively more or less impactful (e.g., severity, proximity, victimization vs. witnessing, etc.) In collaboration with Dr. Enrique Chaux at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Traci Kennedy, a former doctoral student in the Ceballo Lab, traveled to Bogotá and Cali, Colombia and conducted semi- structured qualitative interviews with 80 5th and 10th graders.

Women’s Experiences with Infertility 

The majority of research on infertility has been conducted with European American, high-income couples, yet racial/ethnic minority women and women with less education and lower incomes are equally likely, if not more likely, to experience infertility in the U.S. (Bitler & Schmidt, 2006; Chandra & Stephen, 2010). Facing structural disadvantages and limited resources, we know little about the ways in which poor women and racial/ethnic minority women cope with, manage, and overcome the life stressor of infertility (Inhorn, Ceballo, & Nachtigall, 2009). In another line of research, Dr. Ceballo similarly relies on a resilience framework to investigate the ways in which African American women cope with the trauma, loss, and gender or racial discrimination often associated with interfelity. This study uses qualitative interview data with 50 infertile, African American women of different socioeconomic statuses.

The Filipino Parent Study

Rosanne Jocson, PI. The Filipino Parent Study is a research project on mothers and fathers of adolescents residing in low-income urban neighborhoods in Manila, Philippines. The study aims to (a) examine the links between urban poverty-related risks, parents’ psychological well-being, and parenting behaviors and (b) identify culturally-relevant individual-, family-, and community-level protective factors against poverty-related risks. This study is funded by the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, The Tokyo Foundation, and the Society for Research in Child Development.


Dr. Rosario Ceballo
Principal Investigator

Andrea Mora
Lab Coordinator
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