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Current Research

Members of our lab are currently pursuing a number of research directions, reflected in graduate students' thesis and dissertation projects, as well as lab-wide studies. Our current lines of research generally pertain to women's health psychology, and include issues related to reproductive health and stressful life events. Below are descriptions of our ongoing research projects.

Please note: This information was last updated in January 2014.

Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit Projects N/IICU at CHOP

Admission into a hospital setting can be a stressful experience for families of neonatal infants. In collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Women’s Health Psychology Lab is developing interventions designed to provide psychosocial support to parents with infants in the Neonatal Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU). Research assistants may assist in focus groups, provider education, and sibling support groups for families in the NICU. Several projects are ongoing: a psychosocial support group for families, an international survey of NICUs worldwide to determine the type of psychosocial services typically provided by NICUs, consultation services to other members of the CHOP NICU care team, and a sibling support group. Related clinical research projects also are in the process of development.

Coping with Fertility Problems

Fertility problems and infertility are associated with significant stress and distress. For women experiencing these private and often stigmatized conditions, receiving adequate social support and communicating with others is beneficial. Many women with fertility problems seeks such support on the Internet, but little is known about the impact of such support- seeking behavior. Therefore, this project seeks to assess empowering processes and outcomes and quality of life among women utilizing this type of social support, and to evaluate differences between active and passive users of these resources, to promote clearer understanding of the utility of informal, Internet-based support for this population. This project is led by Alexandra Nelson.

HIV and Intimate Partner Violence

HIV infection and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are intersecting women's health issues with serious consequences for women's physical and mental health. Because women who have experienced IPV are three times more likely to be infected with HIV, it is important to investigate which factors impact HIV risk reduction among this population. The Geller Lab recruited participants from an ob/gyn clinic, a domestic violence shelter and a domestic violence support organization. The study is not currently enrolling participants. This project is led by Alexa Bonacquisti.

African American Women's Experience of Pregnancy Loss

African American women experience pregnancy loss at more than twice the rate of any other ethnic or racial group, even after controlling for marital status, age, education, and income. Despite this marked disparity, research addressing African American women's pregnancy loss experiences is extremely limited. Therefore, the Geller lab is conducting the first theory-driven, quantitative investigation of African-American women's coping strategies following loss. To ensure the diversity and representativeness of the sample, this study employs a wide range of recruitment strategies and locations (e.g., churches, DUCOM ob/gyn clinics, grocery stores, publicly displayed flyers, university recruitment). This study has been successfully defended, but remains open for further data collection. This project is led by Efrat Eichenbaum.

Post-Traumatic Growth and Traumatic Brain Injury

The study of post-traumatic growth in persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) is flourishing. This project seeks to examine the relationship among post-traumatic growth and rehabilitation outcomes, as well as investigate predictors of post-traumatic growth in traumatic brain injury patients attending a long-term, post-acute, brain injury rehabilitation program. The study will also qualitatively examine the novel use and utility of assistive technologies in data collection with persons with TBI. This project is led by Efrat Eichenbaum.

Perceived Barriers to Infertility Treatment

Although African American, Hispanic, and other non-Caucasian women report higher rates of infertility, these women are less likely to receive assisted reproductive technology (ART) services and wait longer before seeking treatment. Hypothesized social, cultural or religious barriers could account for this discrepancy, although limited literature exists about minority women’s perception of these perceived barriers. This study aims to elucidate additional perceived barriers to care among women and to examine the association of depression, social support, and additional barriers with not pursuing treatment for infertility. This study has been successfully defended, but remains open for further data collection. This project is led by Mitra Khaksari.

Attitudes and Perceptions Concerning Pregnancy among Adult Women with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

Women with Type 1 or type 2 diabetes can have a pregnancy with risks similar to those of a woman without diabetes. Recommendations have been made about the steps necessary for a healthy pregnancy. This study aims to assess women with diabetes’ attitudes towards pregnancy, perceptions of the possibilities of becoming pregnant, and source of information. This project is led by Carrie Grady.