Katie Newkirk is a second year Clinical Psychology graduate student at UMass Amherst working with Maureen Perry-Jenkins on the Work and Family Transitions Project. Her primary research interests focus on the ways in which family processes and family members’ well-being are uniquely affected by social contexts, with particular interest in the transition to parenthood, gender in family dynamics, and parental mental health. Katie graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in history and worked in advertising in Chicago before taking an interest in mental health. She obtained an M.A. in Community Counseling at Northeastern Illinois University and interned as a counselor at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.
Katie will use her CRF Fellowship to work with her advisor on two projects that broadly address how both biological and contextual factors influence the well-being of children and their parents. The first study explores how the division of family work predicts parent mental health in different family structures (e.g., single-parent, cohabiting and married). The second project will test a “differential susceptibility hypothesis” positing that children with difficult temperaments will be especially reactive to their care giving environment. She will test a hypothesis that difficult infants will excel in more positive contexts, as compared to easy temperament children, and will have the poorest socio-emotional outcomes in negative family contexts.
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