My research focus is the cumulative effect of exposure to armed conflict, parent-child relations, and individual characteristics, on the development and maintenance of children’s behavioral problems (i.e. aggression), and internalizing problems (i.e. anxiety and depression). I also look at the ways in which family and the child's own strengths may buffer such effects, and actually enhance the development of pro-social behaviors in children.
In societies around the world, millions of children experience political violence in the form of armed conflict as a fact of daily life – as victims, participants and observers. An estimated 90 percent of conflict related deaths since 1990 have been civilians, and 80 percent of these have been women and children. While there has been growing attention to the psychological well-being of child victims of war and terrorism in the past decade, it has focused primarily on the impact of such environments on development of trauma-related symptoms. However, such traumas are experienced in the context of other developmental risks children face, i.e., individual, family, and relational factors.
My research program examines the ways in which these factors converge to increase the risk of children developing various psychological problems, particularly behavior problems. I am also interested in the ways positive family relations, and children's own individual strengths, may buffer the negative effects of exposure to political violence.
Neria, Y., Guttmann-Steinmetz, S., Koenen, K., Levinovsky, L., Zakin, G., Dekel, R. (2001). do attachment and hardiness relate to eachother and to mental-health in real-life stress. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18, 844-858.
Guttmann-Steinmetz, S., & Crowell, J.A. (2006). Attachment and Externalizing Disorders: A Developmental Psychopathology Perspective. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 440-451.
Guttmann-Steinmetz S., Gadow, K. D., & DeVincent, C. (2009). Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorder Behaviors in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder with and without Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Versus Several Comparison Samples Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 976-985.
Guttmann-Steinmetz, S., DeVincent, C., Gadow, K., & Crowell, J.A. Anxiety Symptoms in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or Chronic Multiple Tic Disorder and Community Controls. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, In Press.