Research Projects

Allergic Diseases

The pediatric psychology lab has focused primarily on studying the psychosocial impact of allergic diseases, particularly immune-mediated food allergies. Several papers have been published or submitted from our first study on parent psychological functioning, and we have developed a new measure of parent anxiety specific to managing their child’s food allergy. Next steps are to test our measure of parent anxiety, as well as our measure of social activity limitations, in a clinical sample across two food allergy clinics.

Our current line of research aims to identify the prevalence of disrupted eating behaviors in adolescents and young adults with either food allergy or food intolerance. We are examining restricted and disinhibited eating, cognitive functioning and disease management burnout. The objective of this line of research is ultimately to develop interventions to help families manage allergic conditions.

If you are the parent of a teen (ages 13 to 17) with a food allergy or intolerance, please click here to complete our study.

If you are a young adult (ages 18 to 25) with a food allergy or intolerance, please click here to complete our study.

Future research directions include the development of a study to understand maternal-child relationships and neurodevelopment in young children with allergic conditions, such as food-protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome.


Dr. Peterson’s early interests and career were focused on pediatric cancer, and specifically, the neurocognitive, psychosocial and family impact of childhood cancer survivorship. Current projects include preparation of two manuscripts from earlier studies examining parent information needs about late effects and a review of attention interventions for survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

New research just getting underway focuses on adaptation of psychosocial assessment tools for use in childhood cancer in Southeast Asia. One site, Dharmais Cancer Center in Jakarta, Indonesia, is actively collecting quality of life data, and we hope to begin data collection at several sites in Thailand.
Pediatric Headache

The pediatric psychology lab has completed a study examining the family impact of pediatric pain conditions, and we have an ongoing study examining cognitive functioning in children with recurrent headache. The headache study is currently recruiting children and adolescents (ages 6 to 17) in the Southeast Michigan area to participate in this study. Children earn a $30 gift card for completing measures of cognitive functioning and questionnaires about their pain and psychosocial functioning. If you are the parent of a child with recurrent headaches and are interested in learning more about our study, please email us at [email protected].

Student Projects

Several studies have been developed by students, often involving multiple members of the lab. For example, one student is developing an intervention for NICU mothers, which will involve other members of the lab. Students in the pediatric psychology lab are also supported in developing and implementing independent studies or in writing review papers to further their independent research trajectories.

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