Previous Research

Project: Mente Fuerte

Aim: The CALMA Lab at UCLA is looking for Latino/a adults who want to learn more about mental wellbeing to participate in a research study. As a participant, you will receive a short book about depression and ways to help improve mental wellbeing. You will fill out some questionnaires about yourself before and after reading the book (in person) and 3 months later (in person or online). Study visits may take place in your home or at UCLA. You will receive up to $30 for your participation in this study, and the total time commitment is approximately 4 hours. For more information, or to see if you are eligible to participate, please visit our study’s webpage, contact mentefuerteUCLA@gmail.com, or call 310-825-7796 (Principal Investigator: Louise Dixon, MA; Co-Investigator: Denise Chavira, PhD)

Mental Health Risk and Resilience among Rural Latino Teens

Aim: To examine individual, familial, social and cultural factors that affect risk for anxiety and depression among adolescents ages 13-18 recruited from a rural community. 

Adolescents will be recruited from high schools in Imperial Valley, California and will complete questionnaires as well as a clinical interview assessing depression and anxiety. This research project will help us 1) understand the relationship between environmental stressors, family factors, and anxiety/depression in a rural sample of predominantly Latino youth, 2) identify factors that increase resilience in this population, and; 3) identify risk and protective factors to inform treatment development research for at-risk Latino youth.

Fotonovela Project

Aim: The goal of this study is to gather information on Latino parent’s beliefs about emotional problems in their children, their attitudes about seeking treatment for emotional problems in their children, factors that influence their decision to seek treatment, and possible content for a written educational brochure to increase awareness of childhood problems such as anxiety and depression.

Culture & Brain Research Study

Aim: Amy Rapp and Dr. Denise Chavira of the UCLA Department of Psychology are conducting a research study. We are interested in learning more about how teenagers’ views of themselves influence how their brains react to certain types of information in order to better understand why some teenagers show an increased risk for anxiety. If your teenager (ages 13-17) qualifies for this study, participation includes an approximately two hour study visit. This visit includes your child answering questions about themselves, including topics like your child’s age, race, ethnicity, mental health, and culture. We will also be doing some short cognitive tests. Your child will play computer games while we measure the activity of their brain. To do this, your child will wear a cap on their head attached to sensors, as well as a few sensors placed near their eyes and on their forehead. You will be compensated for your time and transportation.
Grant Number:  F31 MH111187
Funding Agency: National Institute of Mental Health

Promotora-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A qualitative study

Aim: To examine the feasibility of a new service mode of delivery (i.e., promotora guided, computer-assisted CBT) for treating low-income Latinos with anxiety and depressive disorders in community health centers.  

As part of this project, we will conduct qualitative interviews with stakeholders and focus groups with promotoras to inform the tailoring of an existing computer-assisted, CBT intervention. Based on feedback, we will adapt the intervention and develop a training manual for promotoras to guide delivery.

ICAN (Improving Care for Child Anxiety) – Qualitative interviews with parents of anxious children

Aim: To examine parents conceptualizations of child anxiety and variables that inhibit or facilitate service use for children with anxiety, using a qualitative interview methodology.

The study consists of qualitative interviews with parents of children with anxiety to help us  understand factors that facilitate and/or inhibit service use such as perceptions of need, stigma, and logistical barriers to treatment. 39 parents participated in these interviews. 30% of the participants were Latino which has allowed the research team to examine themes that might be unique to this group.

UCAN (Understanding Child Anxiety) – Treatment barriers

Aim: To identify individual, provider, and system level variables facilitate and inhibit mental health service use among children with DSM anxiety disorders.

As part of this study, 74 children and 75 parents/caregivers participated in a semi-structured diagnostic interview related to childhood emotional and behavioral functioning and completed measures related to anxiety, services utilization, and barriers to treatment. Findings from this study have been used to inform strategies to improve engagement for families seeking service for children who have anxiety disorders.

Cool Kids-San Diego; Examining the feasibility of two modes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in a pediatric primary care setting

Aim: To demonstrate acceptability and feasibility of a cognitive behavioral therapy intervention for child anxiety disorders delivered in the pediatric primary care setting or via telephone.

48 children (age 8-13) were recruited from three primary care clinics and randomized to one of two conditions:  traditional CBT delivered in-person by a therapist or, parent-mediated, bibliotherapy with therapist support by telephone.  The primary focus of this project has been issues of feasibility including acceptability, adherence, attrition, and satisfaction, associated with these two modes of service delivery in the primary care setting.

“Ninos Valientes” – Parent-mediated, Therapist-supported CBT for Rural Latino Youth with Anxiety

Aim: To examine the feasibility, tolerability, acceptability, and safety of two modes of service delivery for a translated and tailored version of a CBT program, for rural Latino youth with anxiety disorders.

32 families were recruited for this study and were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: parent-mediated, bibliotherapy with therapist support by telephone, or a self-administered CBT program, with the option to initiate contact with a child anxiety therapist as needed.  Qualitative interviews were conducted throughout the study to examine issues of feasibility and adherence.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Genetics Study – Costa Rica

Aim: To identify susceptibility genes for OCD using several complimentary forms of genetic approaches, including candidate gene studies, traditional family (pedigree) based linkage studies, association studies using nuclear families (affected individual and their parents), and case-control studies.

This is a multi-site study involving the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Hospital de los Niños (in Costa Rica), University of California, San Diego (UCSD), University of Southern California (USC) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The study involves the collection of DNA samples and diagnostic interview with 1000 affected individuals with OCD and their family members (about 300 families). The proposed long-term goals of this project are to determine specific susceptibility genes that increase (or decrease) risk of acquiring OCD, and to identify genetic markers that influence OCD pathogenesis, disease course, and treatment response.

Risk and Resilience Study – Colombia and Costa Rica

Aim: To provide information about the prevalence of anxiety and obsessionality traits and resilience, and their association to childhood psychiatric disorders in a sample of school-aged children from two Latin American populations: the Central Valley of Costa Rica and Bogotá, Columbia. 

This is a multi-site study involving the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Clínica Herrera Amighetti, Escazú, and Universidad de los Andes (University of the Andes). Approximately 600 students from Colombia were screened, and 500 from Costa Rica; clinical interviews have been conducted with approximately 200 students.