Mentor: Dr. Darlene Kertes
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"Beyond the intrinsic value of discovery, I got involved with research in order to gain first-hand experience in conducting psychological studies. I believe that doing so provides me with valuable experience and credentials necessary for success in graduate school in psychology. I eventually hope to lead my own studies to tackle problems in personality and social psychology."
- Personality Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
Hobbies and Interests
- Playing Guitar
Identifying Sources of Gender Differences in Perceived Parental Support in Childhood
Perceived social support is related to well-being among children and adolescents. As such, understanding perceived social support has important implications for developmental psychology. Recent research in our lab indicates that, relative to boys under high levels of stressful life events, girls who report higher numbers of stressful life events perceive more maternal support. Other researchers have found similar results. Specifically, girls under conditions of distress reported more perceived social support from family, friends and significant others than boys. Furthermore, under conditions of little or no distress, girls perceive more support from parents than boys. The reason for these gender differences is unknown. The proposed study aims to address this gap by examining objective measures of stressful life events with child reports of perceived parental support and parent report of support provided. One hypothesis is that boys and girls may differ in support seeking behavior, and thus differentially receive social support. This outcome would be consistent with research suggesting females engage in more support-seeking behavior. A contrasting hypothesis is that parents provide differential support to sons and daughters irrespective of support-seeking behavior. This hypothesis is consistent with research suggesting adults believe boys and girls differ in emotionality and emotional needs. A third possibility is that gender differences in child-reported parental support are due to gender differences in children’s perceptions and not child or parental behavior. Results of this research would shed light on the impact of gender on perceptions of stress and social support. Given that responses to, and coping with, stress can have widespread consequences for biological and behavioral functioning, this research would improve our understanding of the factors that impact physical and emotional health.