Human Development and Family Studies

HDFS Newsletter 4-2-13

Nicole Brown Perry Receives the 2013 HDFS’ Vira Kivett Award

It is with pleasure that the Department of Human Development and Family Studies announces Nicole Brown Perry as the 2013 recipient of the Vira R. Kivett Outstanding Graduate Publication Award. Established by Mr. Allen Kivett and Dr. Vira Kivett, the Outstanding Graduate Publication Award is designed to acknowledge and encourage scholarly publications in students’ field of study and, hence, to contribute to their professional development, visibility, and effectiveness.

Working with Drs. Esther Leerkes, Susan Calkins and Marion O’Brien, Nicole published an article in the prestigious journal, Developmental Psychobiology (2012, 54(5), 503-513) dealing with young children’s ability to regulate their emotions. This ability involves both a physiological and a behavioral component and is generally related to positive later-life outcomes in such domains as cognitive development, social development and psychological adjustment. Nicole and her coauthors examined vagal withdrawal, a heart-rate based measure of how children react to moderately frustrating situations. Their study suggests that children who receive more emotional support from their mothers are physiologically able to cope with moderately frustrating situations at an earlier age than children whose mothers are less emotionally supportive. Between ages 3 and 5, however, the gap between children of supportive and non-supportive mothers narrows, suggesting that maternal influence on this physiological aspect of emotional regulation may decline during the preschool period.