Clinical Child Psychology, University of Kansas
Cohort Six Fellow
Professor, Clinical Child Psychology Program, University of Kansas
Director of Evidence Informed Initiatives, KVC Health Systems
child maltreatment; biological indicators of trauma; mental and physical health; social support/family environment; longitudinal modeling of risk and protective processes
Areas of Expertise
Lindsay Huffhines is a doctoral student in the Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas. Her research focuses on how child maltreatment affects physical and mental health, and how psychosocial factors, like social support, protect kids from adverse outcomes. Ms. Huffhines currently manages a large medical database for a federally funded study examining risk and resilience in foster youth, and coordinates a randomized controlled trial testing an intervention for parents of young children with type 1 diabetes. Prior to doctoral training, Ms. Huffhines received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to implement a study in Iceland examining how social systems affect parental support of sexually abused children, and subsequently children’s mental health. The Icelandic Research Fund awarded her a grant to extend this project through 2017. Ms. Huffhines holds a BA in Psychology and English from Texas A&M University and an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University.
Biological Indicators of Trauma and Health Outcomes in Maltreated Foster Youth: The Role of Social Support
Child maltreatment is associated with immune dysfunction and disease over the lifespan. The purpose of this study is to determine whether social support protects youth from these negative health outcomes. This study will use latent class analysis to model trajectories of maltreatment and social support over time, as youth transition in and out of foster and biological families, controlling for potentially confounding sociodemographic and placement variables (aim 1). Next, the study will examine whether health outcomes, including: a) revictimization, b) emotional/behavioral problems, c) psychiatric and medical diagnoses, d) health service use, e) psychotropic medication use, and f) systemic inflammation, vary across classes (aim 2). Participants will be drawn from a successful, federally funded research initiative, “Studying Pathways to Adjustment and Resilience in Kids” (SPARK). Findings will inform the field about how maltreatment and social support patterns predict revictimization and important health outcomes in foster youth, a transient population whose lifetime exposure to maltreatment greatly exceeds what is typical, putting them at risk for poor health now and later in life. Creating a trajectory of positive family environments is expected to serve as a critical target for intervention in preventing further maltreatment and negative health outcomes in foster youth.