Karen Kalmakis studies the relationship between a history of adverse childhood experiences and the neurobiological stress response among young adults. During her year as a Family Research Scholar, Dr. Kalmakis developed a grant proposal for the project entitled, “Exploring the role of socio-environmental and demographic influences on the stress process.” This project focused on the impact that adverse childhood experiences, socioeconomic status and individual demographics have on the coping strategies that are part of the stress process.
Dr. Kalmakis’s research expanded the current stress literature by examining how both socio-environmental and demographic variables may influence coping strategies and thereby modify the neurobiological stress response. The research also provided knowledge about the impact of coping strategies (effective and ineffective) on allostatic load. The results of this research may be used to assist young adult patients more effectively cope with stress and avoid negative health outcomes.