Culture, Affect, RElationships (CARE) Lab

CARE Lab 2022-2023

We are a group committed to understanding mental health and well-being among globally and locally underrepresented groups in psychological science. Our research involves individuals  across the developmental spectrum (middle childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood) within their family, community, and cultural contexts. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@care_mu), or Instagram for current news!

Parenting, Emotion, and Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

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In one line of research, we have focused on uncovering “what is it about culture that matters” in understanding the relation between parenting and child psychopathology. Parents across cultures have differing goals concerning the qualities they would like to develop in their children to prepare them to be successful members of their communities. In a few studies, we have investigated the ways in which such culturally based socialization goals influence parents’ emotion socialization behaviors, which in turn, contribute to children’s emotion management preferences, and lead to diverse child outcomes (Raval, Raval, & Deo, 2014; Raval, Li, Deo, & Hu, 2017). Although much of this work has examined parental socialization of negative emotion, in collaboration with Dr. Aaron Luebbe at Miami and Dr. Anuradha Sathiyaseelan at Christ University in India, we have examined parents' and adolescents' views about positive affect (PA), parental socialization of PA, adolescent PA regulation, and risk for adolescent depression (Raval et al., 2019). In order to better understand whether and why seemingly similar parent behaviors across cultures may be associated with very different child outcomes, we have examined factors such as perceived normativeness (how typical do children perceive their parent’s behavior to be relative to other parents in the community; Raval, Raj, Kennedy, & Jansari, under review), and children’s subjective experience (what children emotionally experience in response to parent behavior (Jackson, Raval, et al., 2016; Teo, Raval, & Jansari, 2017). These findings contribute to culturally informed theories of parenting and parental socialization of child emotion, and have implications for developing culturally sensitive intervention approaches.

Cultural Foundations of Global Mental Health

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Our research also focuses on contextual understanding of psychopathology, training in cultural competence, and testing the effectiveness of culturally adapted evidence-based interventions in resource limited settings. For example, our work has demonstrated the relevance of social relationships in constructions of psychological well-being and distress (Daga et al., 2020), including depression (Aggarwal et al., 2021), and the role of cultural values such as filial piety in understanding body image and views regarding cosmetic surgery (Lin et al., 2021). In collaboration with Dr. April Smith at Auburn University and Dr. Tony Sam George at Christ University in India, our research has demonstrated the relevance of interpersonal theory of suicide for Indian emerging adults (Aggarwal et al., in press). Informed by this work, we are currently exploring the feasibility of virtually delivered interventions for suicide and common mental health problems for college-aged adults in India. In our USIEF-funded study, based on conceptualization of culturally competent mental health care in India and the USA, we generated recommendations for enhancing graduate level training. These findings add to the limited literature on mental health in low- and middle-income countries, with implications for training and the provision of mental health services.


Ethnic Racial Marginalization and Mental Health

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In a line of research inspired and initiated by graduate students, we are exploring experiences of marginalization among Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African (Arab/MENA) and Latinx American communities. This work has demonstrated diverse and sometimes contrasting perspectives regarding race and ethnicity in the USA (Raval et al., 2021), and explored White parents' goals, motivations, concerns, and strategies as they teach their children about race and ethnicity (Freeman et al., under review). Consistent with minority stress theory, our ongoing research has shown that Asian Americans reported an increase in experiences of direct and indirect discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to pre-pandemic, and these experiences were associated with poor mental health (Huynh et al., in press; supported by the Foundation for Psychology in Ohio).