Early Steps Lab


Melvin Wilson

Early Steps Lab Logo

Contact: Margarita Caldentey at mcc9c@virginia.edu 

The Early Steps Project is a multisite, longitudinal study of 731 ethnically-diverse families from urban (Pittsburgh, PA), suburban (Eugene, OR), and rural (Charlottesville, VA) sites. Families with a child between ages 2.0 years and 2 years, 11 months were recruited from WIC stations at each site based on their ability to meet eligibility criteria for child, family, and sociodemographic risk. As children now enter adulthood, we propose to test the hypothesis that periodic, tailored, and adaptive interventions delivered to caregivers of children from ages 2 to 10: (a) will have long-term preventive effects on alcohol and drug use, high-risk sexual behavior, and other types of problem behavior; (b) will show intervention effects that are mediated by increases in parents’ use of positive behavior support and prosocial peer affiliation; and (c) will test whether intervention effects are moderated by genetic and contextual risk.                

Eligible students should have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00, be psychology majors or intend to be psychology majors, have completed 9 hours of psychology courses (ideally PSYC 3005/3006), and be 2nd or 3rd year students (4th years sometimes considered).

Research assistants (RAs) must be available at least two days a week between 1–9 PM. Availablility on weekends is also desirable because RAs are involved in data collection in participants’ homes. RAs must feel comfortable working with young adults and with diverse populations. We encourage students to consider working with us for at least 2 consecutive years. Fluent Spanish speakers are encouraged to apply.