Research Projects

Allergic Diseases

The pediatric psychology lab has been studying the psychosocial impact of allergic diseases, including immune-mediated and gastrointestinal food allergies. Several papers have been published from our first study on parent psychological functioning, and we continue to work on increasing our understanding of parent psychosocial functioning with newly developed measures of anxiety and activity restriction. We recently completed a study at the University of Michigan Food Allergy Center (in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital) where we tested and validated our measures of parent and child anxiety and social activity limitations.


Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted a study assessing the impact of the pandemic on the psychological functioning of parents of children with asthma, food allergy, or both. 

Ongoing research directions include the development of a study to understand parent psychosocial functioning, maternal-child relationships and neurodevelopment in young children with allergic conditions, such as food-protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). 


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 manuscripts from earlier studies examining parent information needs about late effects of cancer treatment and the family impact of late effects.

We also have completed a study assessing quality of life in childhood cancer, using an adaptation of the PedsQL, at Dharmais Cancer Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. We also plan to begin data collection at several sites in Thailand.

Student Projects

Several studies have been developed by students, often involving multiple members of the lab. For example, one student is developing and testing an intervention for NICU mothers, which involves several 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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