Research Faculty Affiliates

Kari Adamsons Kari Adamsons, PhD. Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies. Her principle research focus is fathering, and particularly the ways in which parenting roles are negotiated across contexts and transitions (e.g., divorce, transition to parenthood). Dr. Adamsons is also interested in family theory and has scholarly expertise in couple relationships and the factors that affect couple processes and outcomes, including the ways in which parental acceptance and rejection influence relationships in adulthood.                 kari.adamsons@uconn.edu phone: 860.486 .8971
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Alaina Brenick, PhD., Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on youth’s experiences of and social and moral reasoning about peer victimization—namely, bullying, discrimination, and exclusion—based on group membership. Furthermore, she has conducted research on interpersonal exclusion and intergroup relations of diverse groups of children from the United States, Colombia, Germany, and the Middle East, areas of the world with current or historic tensions. Moreover, she examines the social, cognitive, and emotional outcomes of group-based victimization, the roles of contact, identity, and culture in these phenomena, and intervention efforts to promote positive intergroup dynamics in youth development.                             alaina.brenick@uconn.edu phone: 860.570.9084
BritnerP Preston A. Britner, PhD., Professor and Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair at the Department for Human Development & Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Preston Britner’s scholarship and expertise regarding parenting, parent-child relations, and child development fit well with the Center’s mission. In addition, his work in research and outreach at the local, state, and national level is invaluable in promoting the Center’s vision.
preston.britner@uconn.edu
 phone: 860.486.3765
Noel.Card_.photo_-150x150 Noel CardPhD., Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. His research interests include both social development and quantitative methodology. He has studied interpersonal acceptance and rejection primarily in the context of child and adolescent peer relationships, considering group social status (e.g., popularity and related constructs), dyadic relationships of friendship and enemy relationships, and behavioral manifestations such as prosocial behavior and aggression. His quantitative interests include meta-analysis, longitudinal data, dyadic data, and measurement evaluation.
noel.card@uconn.edu phone: 860.486.1003
Csizmadia Annamaria Csizmadia, PhD., Associate Professor in the Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS) at the University of Connecticut, Stamford. With particular attention to multicultural and immigrant children, Dr. Csizmadia investigates the role that culturally relevant predictors such as ethnic-racial identity and ethnic-racial socialization play in ethnic-racial minority children’s development. The concept of interpersonal acceptance-rejection has considerable relevance for the study of multiracial children who develop in a racially stratified and largely monoracially oriented society. Dr. Csizmadia is particularly interested in extending and applying PARTheory to understanding how parents teach their multiracial children about race, their social position in the U.S. hierarchy, and how to interact with monoracial peers. She has published in Family, Relations, Social Development, Parenting: Sciences and Practice, Advances in Life Course Research, Sociological Compass, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Black Psychology, and Maternal and Child Health Journal. Dr. Csizmadia holds a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri.
annamaria.csizmadia@uconn.edu phone: 203.251.9586
amanda Amanda Denes, PhD., Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Her research focuses on communication in various types of interpersonal relationships such as romantic relationships, parent-child relationships, and friendships. Much of her work looks at the association between communication in interpersonal relationships and people’s physiological, psychological, and relational health. In particular, she is interested in why individuals disclose information about themselves to others, how they disclose that information, and the effects of such disclosures on individuals and their relationships.
amanda.denes@uconn.edu phone: 860.486.6139
Julian Julian D. Ford, PhD., Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UConn Health. He conducts therapy with adult and child survivors of trauma, as well as research on assessment and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and disorders of extreme stress following complex trauma. Dr. Ford has developed the TARGET (Trauma Affect Regulation: Guidelines for Education and Therapy; www.ptsdfreedom.org) model for adults receiving services for chronic mental illness and addictions, emergency medical care, domestic violence, and in correctional settings, as well as for youths and families who are involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in Connecticut and Florida. Currently he is the Director of the University of Connecticut TARGET affiliate site within the SAMHSA National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Since November 2001 he has been Director of the Center for Trauma Response, Recovery, and Preparedness (www.CTRP.org), which is dedicated to the development of systems of services for communities affected by mass trauma. Dr. Ford also serves as a Senior Academic Fellow with the Child Health and Development Institute.
ford@psychiatry.uchc.edu phone: 800.535.6232
Linda Linda C. Halgunseth, PhD., Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Development & Family Studies in the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Linda’s professional interests include: Minority Health and Well-Being, Latino and African American Parenting, Cultural Influences on Parent-Child Relations and Parenting, Children of Immigrants, and Culturally-Appropriate Measurement Development.
linda.halgunseth@uconn.edu phone: 203.236.9826
khaleque Abdul Khaleque, PhD., Professor-in-Residence, University of Connecticut in Storrs Department of Human Development Family Studies, and Senior Research Scientist in the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection
abdul.khaleque@uconn.edu phone: 860.486.6291
Picture1 Ppudah Ki, PhD., Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies . Her research interests are in the study of (1) individual and family risk and resilience, (2) interpersonal acceptance-rejection dynamics and coping in parent-child and couples relationships, (3) diversity issues and multicultural research, practice, and supervision, and (4) application of research to teaching, clinical, and community settings. Her interests in resilience and interpersonal acceptance-rejection dynamics are related to IPARTheory’s coping subtheory.                             ppudahki@gmail.com phone: 860.819.6204
sandra Sandra A. Rigazio-DiGilio, PhD., Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy and Senior Scientist/Practitioner, University of Connecticut, Storrs, in the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection. Dr. Rigazio-DiGilio’s scholarship in developing culture- and context-centered therapeutic approaches and instruments for applied and empirical use fit well with the Center’s mission. She is principal investigator in studies dealing with the clinical application of IPARTheory constructs and measures in relational and systemic therapy.
sandra.rigazio-digilio@uconn.edu phone: 860.486.2095
ron and pep Ronald P. Rohner, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Rohner Center and Professor Emeritus of Family Studies and Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. During the course of his doctoral studies at Stanford University he developed a lasting interest in the antecedents and consequences of parental acceptance and rejection, which is now referred to as Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection Theory (IPARTheory).  His research interest is embedded in a large intellectual commitment to the field of family studies and cross-cultural psychology –especially as these fields converge on issues of interpersonal and parent-child relations in America and Internationally. Dr. Rohner’s theory is recognized internationally, and his research is cited frequently in textbooks and professional journals. Due to his dedication and lifelong commitment to research he was given the American Psychological Association’s (APA) award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology in 2004, and APA’s Division of International Psychology Award for Outstanding Psychologist in the US. r.rohner@uconn.edu phone: 860.486.0073
 Sean_Seepersad_4358_400x400 Sean Seepersad, PhD., is Adjunct Professor in Human Development and Family Studies, Hartford Branch, UCONN. His research focuses primarily on loneliness, specifically on effective intervention programs to help the lonely—as well as the ways social media and internet usage influence feelings of loneliness. As part of his intervention work, he has focused on how interpersonal acceptance and rejection influences the way in which individuals think about and behave in relationships. Dr. Seepersad is also currently the CEO/President of the Web of Loneliness Institute, Inc., a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce loneliness globally through building awareness, research, intervention, and consulting.                               sean.seepersad@uconn.edu phone: 860.578.4922
smith R Rhiannon Smith, PhD., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on peer relationships and social-emotional adjustment in childhood and adolescence. She is interested in interpersonal acceptance and rejection by the broader peer group, as well as in close dyadic friendships. In particular, her work on peer groups has examined associations of aggressive and prosocial behavior with peer acceptance, rejection, and peer-perceived popularity. In her work on close friendships, Dr. Smith studies disclosure processes in youths’ conversations with friends and links with acceptance in terms of friendships quality and emotional closeness. She also investigates youths’ acceptance of peers who are different from themselves and friendship formation across difference, including cross-sex and cross-race/ethnicity friendships.
rhiannon.smith@uconn.edu phone: 860.486.4941
 ryan watson Ryan J. Watson, PhD., is an Assistant Professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. He explores protective factors for vulnerable adolescents, with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Dr. Watson situates himself as a mixed-methods interdisciplinary family scientist and draws from life course and developmental frameworks. He is particularly interested in extending IPARTheory to sexual and gender minority youth. To date, research has been slow to disentangle how sexuality-specific parent support (e.g., acceptance of sexual orientation) operates differently from general parent support; these nuances might differentially contribute to the health and well-being of sexual minority youth. To further advance the scholarship of interpersonal relationships and sexual minority youth, Dr. Watson has used both population-based and non-probability datasets from the US, Norway, and Canada to examine how social support (friends, teachers, and parents) may attenuate the impact of risk factors such as victimization, homophobia, and stigma on well-being. He continues to research how social support provides a foundation for achievement and healthy outcomes for vulnerable youth.                                                                                                 ryanwatson@uconn.edu phone: 860.486.1659