Our Research

Our center conducts cutting-edge research studies to help us advance the understanding of the cause, course, and outcome of child and adolescent mental health disorders.

We have amassed a team of more than 40 of the best researchers and clinical experts in the country across multiple areas of study, often in collaboration with sister universities across the state of Florida and the nation.

Our research is funded in part through a number of federal agencies, including:

Click here to view a full list of our current funded projects.

We are always looking for participants for a variety of cutting-edge research studies that will help us advance the understanding of the cause, course, and outcome of child and adolescent mental health disorders. Learn more about our current research programs.

Our Approach

Treatment effectiveness for pediatric mental health, obesity, and learning problems

We have focused on studying the effectiveness of family, school and medical treatments for ADHD, anxiety and related problems, and disruptive behavior in youth, as well as ways of preventing these problems. We have developed new practices for parent training, classroom interventions, and peer interventions, and we have worked with pharmaceutical companies to develop new medications. Currently, our research in ADHD focuses on how to combine non-medical treatments and medications to yield the best treatment for each child. Our current research in anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior, and autism examines what type of treatment works best, as well as new, innovative ways in which to provide treatment to families (e.g., via the Internet, intensive programs). Our early intervention and prevention studies highlight the importance of targeting parental involvement, parent-child interactions, and parenting skills to promote young children’s emotional and behavioral wellbeing as well their school readiness. The CCF also works collaboratively with the surrounding community to help provide mental health consultation and support to front-line staff in strengthening the benefits of after-school programs for children's academic, social, and behavioral functioning. Focus is on supporting activity engagement, teachable moments, and linkages to more intensive mental health services. By participating in prevention and treatment studies, children and families not only benefit from state-of-the art interventions but also provide valuable information to researchers that may lead to new or improved treatments for a variety of mental health problems.

Participating families usually receive free evaluations of their child’s condition, free psychosocial treatment, and, in medication studies, free medication. Free psychosocial treatment may include parenting strategies programs, individual services for children, and school intervention.

The causes and nature of pediatric mental health, obesity, and learning problems

The CCF and its affiliates perform research on the causes and nature of mental health, physical health, and learning problems in childhood and adolescence. These studies focus on familial, environmental, individual, genetic factors that may contribute to the development of mental health problems and learning problems, as well as the link between mental health and physical health. Participation in such projects might include computerized and academic tasks for children, family history gathering questionnaires for parents and siblings, assessing dietary intake and activity levels, or other tests with the goal of determining causes and nature of mental health, physical health, and learning problems.

Collaboration on the course and outcomes of children with mental health problems

The CCF conducts a number of studies in collaboration with sister universities relating to ADHD, aggression, anxiety, and learning problems. These studies examine the risk for and development of different problems over time as well as how the course of a problem may change over time after receiving treatment. The CCF collaborates with universities across the state of Florida and the nation, including Boston University, Yale University, University of Miami, University of Pittsburgh, University of Chicago, Ohio University, University at Buffalo, Temple University, Nova Southeastern, University of Illinois at Chicago, Penn State Hershey, as well as collaborative groups of scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Studies of typical development

Understanding typical development is essential to understanding developmental disorders and is necessary to inform clinical treatment for those disorders. CCF faculty are conducting research on typical development focus on the prenatal, infant and early-childhood periods in the areas of perception, memory and eyewitness testimony, language, and spatial development, motor and social development, and adolescent behavior and identity development. Several behavioral and neuroscience research methodologies are employed, including eye-tracking, electrophysiology and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This research has broad applicability to inform practice in clinical, legal, and school settings.