Professor of Psychology
Arizona State University
Dr. Lemery-Chalfant’s research endeavors have been focused on developmental behavior using a genetic approach; individual differences in appropriate and inappropriate emotional responding-including temperament, internalizing, externalizing, and attentional disorders; risk and resiliency; parent and sibling influences; context effects; and person-environment transactions. She has used both behavioral (e.g., videotaped interactions) and biological (e.g., basal and reactive cortisol) measures for her investigations.
Current Research Update: “My current research uses genetically informed designs to examine risk and resilience for children’s and adolescent’s mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, conduct problems, ADHD, and substance dependence. My main line of work utilizes a longitudinal twin study design to examine how genes and environments work together to influence child mental health. For example, we consider how exposure to early adversity has different influences on children with different genetic backgrounds. We consider the protective role of positive social relationships, and examine co-occurrence with physical health problems, such as poor quality sleep and chronic pain.”
How IMHR Helped Facilitate This Work: “Grants from the IMHR were instrumental in launching the longitudinal Arizona Twin Project, providing funds for collaborating with the Arizona State Section of Vital Statistics to contact families who recently gave birth to twins, and assessing the twins in infancy and toddlerhood. We currently have two large, 5 year federal grants supporting in depth annual assessment of the twin children (NICHD R01 HD079520, $2,893,216 total costs, and NICHD 1R01 HD086085, $2,901,592 total costs). These grants bring over 5 million dollars to the Arizona economy and employ over 30 individuals annually (full time and part time). Hundreds of ASU students have worked on the project for course credit, with 65 students currently conducting research with the Arizona Twin Project. Neither of these grants would have been possible without initial funding from the IMHR to establish the sample and obtain early assessments.”