Children's Interpersonal Relationships & Coping Lab (CIRCL)


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The focus of the lab is on interpersonal stress experienced by children, including bullying and trauma, and how they cope. This year the lab will be working on several projects stemming from students’ specific research interests in the lab. The efficacy of a forgiveness curriculum for youth within church contexts will be examined. The protective factors for a clinical sample of youth who have experienced interpersonal abuse will be examined. Finally, the research group will assist in the development of two projects regarding the forgiveness process among sex-trafficking survivors, and evaluation of a spiritually-integrated group trauma intervention with high-risk urban youth.

Specific objectives include: 

  • Through weekly readings and discussions, cultivate an understanding of the stress and coping framework, the forgiveness process, children’s spirituality, and child trauma within both developmental and clinical literature.
  • Collaborate with one of several research teams to develop intervention studies, and collect and analyze data regarding children’s forgiveness, spirituality, traumatic experiences, and resilience.
  • Prepare presentations of these topics to the local community and professional organizations.

Recent Presentations Involving Lab Students





  •  Ethnic discrimination among Guatemalan youth. Poster presented at 2013 APA Convention, Honolulu, HI.
  • A culture of injustice: Fostering spiritual and psychological well-being in Guatemalan childrenthrough seeking justice. Paper presented at 2013 CAPS Conference, Portland, OR.
  • Contextualized social justice: Entering into culture to bring life to worthy children. Paper presented at 2012 Children’s Spirituality Conference.
  • The Life Stress and Coping of Guatemalan Children and Adolescents. Poster presented at 2012 APA Convention, Orlando, FL.
  • Bullying in Adolescence: Does Gender Make a Difference? Poster presented at the 2012 APA Convention, Orlando, FL.
  • Bullying and Coping: A review and Synthesis of Recent Empirical Studies. Poster presented at the 2012 APA Convention, Orlando, FL.
  • Let’s Not Overlook the Social Side of Adolescent Spirituality. Poster presented at the 2012 CAPS Conference, Washington, DC.
  • Spirituality Within the Context of Peer Relations During Middle School. Poster presented at the 2011 APA Convention, Washington, DC.
  • Cyberbullying: Validating a New Measure for a New Form of Aggression Among a College Sample. Poster presented at the 2011 APA Convention, Washington, DC.
  • The Imperative Craft of Forgiveness: Children’s Spirituality in Peer and Family Relationships. Paper presented at the 2011 CAPS Conference, Indianapolis, IN.

La Voz de Esperanza Research

Opportunities are also available to continue work with La Voz de Esperanza (Voice of Hope for Latin American Youth) in partnership with Escuela Integrada in Antigua, Guatemala. Escuela Integrada is a non-profit school providing services and hope to marginalized children and their families in Guatemala. Our research focuses on processes of risk and resilience that contribute to adaptive and maladaptive youth development. Participation may include: Readings regarding psychological issues relevant to the context of Guatemalan children and adolescents (e.g., peer victimization, racial discrimination, school support of trauma, hope and spirituality), participation in data entry and analysis, and collaboration on professional presentations and feedback to the partner school in Guatemala.

Guatemalan research_APA

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