2016 Research Enhancement Award

Dr. Sharon Christ, Human Development and Family Studies

Child Maltreatment and Child Development in Context 

Funding 
The 2016 Research Enhancement Award is possible due to the generosity of Center for Families’ Advocates Bob and Joyce Miles

Introduction 
The Child Maltreatment and Child Development in Context study is being conducted to develop measures of 4 types of aggressive/violent behaviors of adolescents; determine how these behaviors change from ages 11-17 for the population under the Child Protection Services (CPS); and to determine co-occurrence and interrelationships of the violent behavior types in adolescents. The study will include 4,000 adolescents that are from The National Survey of Adolescent and Child Well-Being Cohorts I and II. Cohort I includes adolescents who were in contact with CPS in 1999/2000. Cohort II includes adolescents who were in contact with CPS in 2008. These adolescents were observed 3-4 time points over 6 years. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), violent behaviors can be measured more systematically.

Project
These funds will be used to support the work of Anthony Adams,  is a sophomore majoring in Statistics, to gain experiences with modeling large data in the human sciences.

Anthony is working on one aim of a multi-aim project. Using existing data from two large, nationally representative cohort samples of adolescents in contact with Child Protective Services (CPS) in the U.S. and structural equation modeling statistical methods, the following objective will be undertaken: Develop measures of four types of aggressive/violent behaviors of adolescents; determine how these behaviors change between ages 11 and 17 for the population of adolescents in contact with CPS; and, determine the co-occurrence and interrelationships of the violent behavior types in adolescence.

Bio 
Dr. Sharon Christ received her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill in 2008. Her primary area of study was quantitative methods and statistics. Prior to the PhD, she earned an MS from the department of Statistics at UNC. As part of her graduate career, she also worked full time for four years as a Research Statistician at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science (http://www.irss.unc.edu). After the PhD, Christ was a postdoctoral fellow for two years at the Center for Developmental Science (http://www.cds.unc.edu/) at UNC where she received training in the theories and methods of human development.

Her research includes applications in the social, behavioral, and health sciences, especially statistical models applicable to human health and development processes. Her primary tools are structural equation modeling (SEM) with latent variables, multilevel (mixed effects) models, longitudinal modeling, and analysis of complex sample data using a design based (marginal, population average) modeling approach. She teaches graduate level statistics courses in all of these areas. Measurement of social constructs, missing data, and selection problems are also foci of her work. Her work involves analysis of existing large nationally representative data sets as well as data collected using observation and experimental designs. Her own areas of substantive interest are in healthy aging and child maltreatment exposure during adolescence.