At the Family Health & Development Lab, we are dedicated to understanding how family relationships shape our well-being. We do this by conducting research with children and families in the Dallas-Fort Worth community. We are particularly interested in how families get along from day-to-day, handle disagreements, and how these daily family interactions can affect our mood and, ultimately, our mental health. Below are some of the questions we aim to answer in our studies:

  • Conflict is inevitable in every close relationship. How do couples handle these everyday marital disagreements? How can we promote better communication among couples so that minor disagreements don't break down the relationship and affect the broader family system?

  • What do children and adolescents think about their families?

  • How do parents and children respond to stressful situations that may occur in the family?

  • What unique challenges do families with a child with autism spectrum disorder encounter?

  • How do the quality of family relationships and interactions contribute to the development of depression in children?

Our research has been funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Administration for Children and Families, Hogg Foundation for Mental HealthJerry M. Lewis, M.D. Mental Health Research Foundation (formerly the Timberlawn Psychiatric Research Foundation), as well as internal funding from Southern Methodist University.  

We are committed to using the knowledge we gain from our research to improve and strengthen the well-being of children and families. Our mission is to uplift families....one study at a time.

There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more...secure.
— Jim Butcher