Kristen M. Kelly Ph.D.
My research interests center on the areas of parent-infant mental health and developmental psychopathology, particularly as they relate to parents' mental representations, cognitive-affective attributions, and corresponding parent-infant behaviors. Specifically, one of the main functions of my research is to develop more accurate and comprehensive models for understanding how distortions in parents' perceptions of themselves and of their children influence parenting behavior, the quality of parent-infant interactions, and child developmental outcomes. I am especially interested in studying how such distortions manifest in vulnerable populations, such as mentally ill parents and those who have suffered severe trauma, given that these parents are at higher risk for experiencing impaired perceptions and difficult interpersonal relationships. My research has required developing expertise in research methodologies and clinical interventions that facilitate empirical research related to parent-infant mental health such as Mary Main's Adult Attachment Interview, Arietta Slade's Parent Development Interview, Mary Ainsworth's Strange Situation, Karlen Lyons-Ruth's scales for Atypical Maternal Behavior (AMBIANCE), and Beatrice Beebe's micro-analytic coding measures. The overarching goal of my research program is aimed at increasing psychology's understanding of processes related to parenting perceptions, interactions and associated behaviors in order to develop more effective methods of assessment, intervention, and prevention with at-risk families. Thus, I want my research to have implications for clinical practice and public policy, as well for enhanced understanding of basic psychological constructs.