Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Preventing Internalizing in Preadolescents Exposed to Chronic Stress (BaSICS)

Preventing Internalizing in Preadolescents Exposed to Chronic Stress (BaSICS)

Headshot of Martha Wadsworth
PI: Martha Wadsworth

NIH R33MH107631
Administrative Supplement
COVID Supplement
Administered in: College of the Liberal Arts


Childhood adversity leads to premature diseases of aging, most forms of psychopathology, and early mortality. The biological toxicity of chronic stress is a critical conduit of this phenomenon. This new NIMH-funded R33 project will evaluate the psychological and biological outcomes of a new coping-identity-empowerment focused intervention program designed specifically to mitigate the health effects of exposure to chronic stress stemming from poverty, violence exposure, and discrimination. This project uses a randomized clinical trial with 150 economically disadvantaged preadolescents to: (1) test the malleability of the physiologic stress response systems (e.g., HPA) in response to the intervention; and (2) test the extent to which skill acquisition and changes in HPA functioning lead to improved trajectories of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress symptoms over time in youths randomized to the 16-session intervention.

COVID Supplement

The goal of this project is to meet the social-emotional needs of preadolescents exposed to poverty’s chronic stress and trauma by improving and expanding their coping and self-regulation skills through the adaptation of a virtual setting. The multicomponent program (vBaSICS) is designed to help youth develop a positive racial and cultural identity, healthy coping skills, and collective power through virtual content delivery. Study goals: (1) evaluate the virtual delivery of the BaSICS program and (2) reduce stress and improve primary and secondary coping skills in youth.

Additional Faculty:

Headshot of Jarl Ahlkvist
Jarl Ahlkvist Sociology and Criminology University Park
Headshot of Gina Brelsford
Gina Brelsford Psychology Harrisburg
Headshot of Lorah Dorn
Lorah Dorn
University Park
Headshot of Mark Feinberg
Mark Feinberg Prevention Research Center University Park
Headshot of Damon Jones
Damon Jones
Prevention Research Center
University Park

Research Staff:

Headshot of Tabatha Hahn
Tabatha Hahn Harrisburg
Headshot of Mary Veneziano
Mary Veneziano
University Park

Graduate Students:

Headshot of Bre Genaro
Bre Genaro
Headshot of Chelsea Mayo
Chelsea Mayo Psychology
Headshot of Brandon Patallo
Brandon Patallo Psychology
Headshot of Holly Pham
Holly Pham Psychology
Headshot of Adithi Rajagopalan
Adithi Rajagopalan
Headshot of Esha Vaid
Esha Vaid Psychology

Undergraduate Students:

(Photos unavailable) Kelly Aucremanne, Maria Marini, and Wenting Zhu