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Completed Studies

There are several completed studies from our lab, which continue to be used for follow-up analysis:

Ecological Momentary Assessment of Feelings and Social Cognition in Relation to Psychopathology

 (Project leader: Kiana Wall; Allison Kalpakci)

In this study we were interested in the use of new technology to better understand the link between emotions and social cognition in everyday life. To this end, EMA methodology was used over a period of 20 days to examine the relation between perceptions of others, interpersonal behavior and negative affect via self-report and physiology.

Social Cognition and Developmental Psychopathology

At the Adolescent Treatment Program (ATP) of the Menninger Clinic we developed a research program which had two goals (1) to test a model of social cognition for the development of emotional-behavior difficulties, in particular emerging personality disorder and (2) to test the effectiveness of a mentalization-based treatment approach in an adolescent in-patient setting. We collaborated closely with the treatment team at the ATP under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Newlin. We also collaborated with Dr. Peter Fonagy at University College London and the Anna Freud Center in the United Kingdom. The work was funded by the Child and Family Program of the Menninger Clinic. This study was later expanded to include a collaboration with another investigative team at the Menninger Clinic who run the MIND-MB project. In this study we made use of fMRI technology and molecular genetics to investigate neurobiological correlates of psychiatric problems in adolescents and adults. This project was funded by the McNair Foundation.

Sharp, C., Williams, L., Ha, C., Baumgardner, J., Michonski, J., Seals, R., Patel, A., Bleiberg, E., & Fonagy, P. (2009). The development of a mentalization-based outcomes and research protocol for an adolescent in-patient unit. The Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 73(4), 311-338.

Venta, A., Sharp, C., Patriquin, M., Salas, R., Newlin, E., Curtis, K., Baldwin, P., Fowler, C., & Frueh, C. (2018). Amygdala-frontal connectivity predicts internalizing symptom recovery among inpatient adolescents. Journal of Affective Disorders, 225, 453-459. [IF: 3.845]

Intranasal Oxytocin and Social Cognition in Youths

(Project leaders: Salome Vanwoerden; Carolyn Ha; Amanda Venta)

In this research project, we were interested in examining how intranasal oxytocin affects social-cognitive functioning in adolescence. Oxytocin is a hormone naturally produced by the brain during social interactions to promote bonding experiences. The study was in collaboration with the Adolescent Treatment Program of the Menninger Clinic. The work was partially funded by several sources including two pre-doctoral training grants through the National Institute of Mental Health awarded to Carolyn Ha and Amanda Venta, funding from the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Child and Family Program of the Menninger Clinic, and a dissertation grant from the American Psychological Association Dissertation awarded to Amanda Venta.

Venta, A., Ha, C., Vanwoerden, S., Newlin, E., Strathearn, L., & Sharp, C. (in press). Paradoxical intranasal oxytocin effects on trust in inpatient and community adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Social Cognitive factors and Suicide-related Behaviors in Adolescents

(Project leader: Claire Hatkevich)

At the Harris County Psychiatric Center our research investigated models by which social-cognitive and other cognitive vulnerabilities (e.g., implicit bias, problem-solving, etc.) interact with life stress to confer risk for suicide-related behaviors and borderline symptoms in adolescents. At HCPC we collaborated with Dr. Iram Kazimi who is at the University of Texas.

Buitron, V., Hartley, C., Pettit, J., *Hatkevich, C., & Sharp, C. (in press). Aggressive Behavior Moderates the Association between Internalizing Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation in Inpatient Adolescents. Suicide and Life-threatening Behavior.

Buitron, V., *Hill, R., Pettit, J., Green, K., *Hatkevich, C., & Sharp, C. (2016). Interpersonal stress and suicidal ideation in adolescence: Direct associations and an indirect association through perceived burdensomeness towards others. Journal of Affective Disorders,190, 143-149 .

Novel Methods for Measuring Social-Cognitive Processes

Our lab has collaborated with researchers in related fields to develop novel methods to evaluate social-cognitive processes. One study was in collaboration with optometry faculty Drs. Heidi Hofer and Manuel De La Cruz Gutierrez in which we developed a measure of self-representation based on constructions of ones’ face. Another collaboration with Dr. Shishir Shah from Computational Sciences used technology to measure micro-expressions during an in-vivo trust task. In addition, we have evaluated performance on the trust task with pre-adolescent boys to gain an understanding of the development of this social-cognitive process.

King-Casas, B., Sharp, C., Lomax, L., Lohrenz, T., Fonagy, P., & Montague, R. (2008). The rupture and repair of cooperation in borderline personality disorder. Science. 321:806-810. doi: 10.1126/science.1156902.

NARSAD: Intergenerational Transmission of Depression

Funded by a NARSAD Grant, this study recruited three groups of female adolescents and their mothers: depressed teens with depressed moms, non-depressed teens with depressed moms, and non-depressed dyads. Using fMRI and behavioral measures, social-cognitive mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of depression were evaluated.

Sharp, C., Kim, S., Herman, L., Pane, H., Reuter, T., & Strathearn, L. (2014). Major depression in mothers predicts reduced reward-related brain processing in adolescent daughters, with or without depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 123(2), 298-309.

Characterizing Psychopathology Among HIV/AIDS Orphans in South Africa

Funded by the NICHD, this study examined the effect of AIDS orphanhood on child outcomes in Mangaung township of South Africa. As part of this work, we have been evaluating psychometric properties of common assessment instruments of psychopathology for this population

Skinner, D., Sharp, C., Serekoane, M. and Ross, M. (2016). The Cultural Adaptation of the DISC-IV: Appropriateness for Sotho Speaking South Africans. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 25(1), 1-19.

Sharp, C., Jardin, C., Marais, L., & Boivin, M. (2015). Orphanhood by AIDS-related causes and child mental health: A Developmental Psychopathology approach. Journal of HIV and AIDS, 1(3), 1-18.