Archived News

April 2021: As K-12 students are returning to school after the pandemic shutdown, school shootings are beginning to occur again too. DTL grad student Agnes Varghese has written an op-ed about the need for policymakers to consider the mental health needs of students (in addition to gun control legislation) in the fight to end the school shooting crisis. Read her piece with EdSource here.

March 2021: Congratulations are in order for DTL lead Dr. Misaki Natsuaki! She has just been honored with a Mid-Career Award at the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) 2021 Virtual Conference. We are proud of you, Dr. Natsuaki! You can check out some of her work here.

February 2021: Exciting news! DTL lead Dr. Misaki Natsuaki has just been featured by her alma mater, International Christian University (ICU), in their Global Alumni series. Dr. Natsuaki attended ICU in Tokyo, Japan for both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Click here to find out more about her journey from ICU to UCR.

January 2021: Television plays such an important role in developing children’s value systems! DTL member Agnes Varghese released a research report with the UCLA Center for Scholars and Storytellers (where she is completing a Junior Fellowship) that tracks how the values depicted on popular tween television over the past 50 years have shifted as a result of the cultural context we live in. The aim of this work is to encourage television creators to pay closer attention to the messages embedded in their content made for tweens & to encourage parents to have more conversations with tweens about how TV impacts them. You can find this report, which has already been featured by various organizations like Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Geena Davis Institute, and Greater Good, here!

November 2020: A paper by DTL lead Dr. Misaki Natsuaki, and Dr. Tuppett Yates has just been accepted into Perspectives in Child Development! This article proposes that while acne negatively affects the mental health of many adolescents, the effects are most intensely felt by females and youths with darker skin colors. Further, factors resulting from social inequalities related to skin color can function to widen health disparities even more. Stay on the look out for this article, titled Adolescent Acne and Disparities in Mental Health.

September 2020: A huge congratulations to Dr. Sofia Stepanyan for successfully defending her dissertation and graduating with a PhD in Developmental Psychology. It has been a great six years having you in the lab, and we can’t wait to see what you accomplish as an Assistant Professor at Gannon University!

September 2020: Paper alert! DTL lead Dr. Misaki Natsuaki has collaborated with nearly 60 women in the field to produce The Future of Women in Psychological Science. This paper explores existing gender gaps in the discipline and utilizes empirical evidence to chart a path forward for women’s career advancement in the field. We are excited to see so many strong female voices come together for this must-read. Click here to check out this paper in Perspectives on Psychological Science!

September 2020: DTL graduate student Agnes Varghese has been busy in the world of science policy. This summer, she was selected for the National Science Policy Network’s (NSPN) inaugural cohort of Science Policy Scholars. Through phase one of the program, she took a bootcamp course in science policy with like-minded graduate students across the country. In the next phase, she will be starting a fellowship with the office of Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes, where she has also previously served as a science fellow through the UCR Center for Science to Policy. Agnes will be working on issues relevant to racism as a public health crisis.

Image Credit: iStock

May 2020: Media alert! DTL alum Dr. Danielle Samuels (who is currently a professor at UMass Amhearst) has just been interviewed by Business Insider about the team’s recently published meta-analysis on acne’s association with mental health difficultiesCheck out the article here!

Image Credit: metro.co.uk

February 2020: The DTL team has published a study on acne and psychopathology in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This systematic review and meta-analysis has found a significant association of acne with depression and anxiety. Given this link, implications include a push for more aggressive acne treatments, and the consideration of psychiatric referrals for those affected.

November 2019: DTL member Agnes Varghese led an interdisciplinary group of graduate students in devising data-driven policy solutions to the school shooting crisis at UCR’s first Policy Hackathon. The policy memo Agnes and her teammates created won best policy proposal at the Hackathon and was sent to legislators in the Inland Empire in light of the recent California school shooting at Saugus High. You can take a look at the full policy memo here.

August 2019: The EGDS research group has published its second paper with a siblings-reared-apart design! This time, we take a look at how this unique rearing context for siblings contributes to differences in inhibitory control and peer problems. You can learn more about our findings here in Development and Psychopathology.

August 2019: DTL welcomes a new graduate studentSay hello to Erick Perez! Erick comes to us from Cal State Northridge, well-equipped with a research background in the motor and social barriers to physical activity among young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In his spare time, he skateboards and attends concerts. We are excited to have him join us in the lab!

May 2019: A new paper from our research group was published in Developmental Psychology. This study introduces an innovative design – siblings reared apart from birth! In the study, we explore contextual and parental differences between biological siblings who were raised by birth parents and adoptive parents. Check out the paper here!


April 2019: Agnes Varghese celebrated her completion of the Science to Policy Certificate, a new university graduate course dedicated to training scientists in translating their scientific findings to pivotal changes in policy at the state and federal level.  This program is officially acknowledged by the deans of the UCR Graduate Division as well as State Assemblymember Jose Medina.