Ph.D., 2001, University of Rochester
Address: K 317
Broadly, the goal of my research program is to understand the processes by which early experiences lead to the development of psychopathology or resilience. In addition to studying the impact of adversities such as poverty and child maltreatment, my work focuses primarily on maternal depression as a risk factor for children’s emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development. To better understand the link between maternal depression and children’s mental health outcomes, my research addresses several questions: Why do mothers become depressed? How does maternal depression influence the quality of caregiving that children experience? Which co-occurring mental disorders in mothers elevate risk for child psychopathology? By what genetic and non-genetic mechanisms is risk transmitted to children of depressed mothers?
My current work focuses on investigating emotion processing as an outcome of exposure to early adversity as well as a predictor of future mental health functioning in children of depressed mothers. Using DNA samples to measure candidate genes and utilizing the twin design to parse genetic vs. environmental influences, I seek to uncover the influence of genetics and experience in the development of emotion processing and psychopathology.
Kim-Cohen, J. & Gold, A. L. (2009). Measured gene-environment interactions and mechanisms promoting resilient development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 138-142.
Caspi, A., Williams, B., Kim-Cohen, J., Craig, I. W., Milne, B. J., Poulton, R., Schalkwyk, L. C., Taylor, A., Werts, H., & Moffitt, T. E. (2007). Moderation of breastfeeding effects on cognitive development by genetic variation in fatty acid metabolism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 104, 18860-18865.
Kim-Cohen, J. (2007). Resilience and developmental psychopathology. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 16, 271-283.
Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Taylor, A., Williams, B., Newcombe, R., Craig, I., & Moffitt, T. E. (2006). MAOA, maltreatment, and gene-environment interaction predicting children’s mental health: New evidence and a meta-analysis. Molecular Psychiatry, 11, 903-913.
Kim-Cohen, J., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., & Taylor, A. (2004). Genetic and environmental processes in young children’s resilience to socioeconomic deprivation. Child Development, 75, 651-668.