Current Research

Dr. Nuttall studies family processes and development within a variety of family contexts and during a variety of developmental stages and transitions.

picture of upset teen while parents argue

Family Stress Contexts

  1. Parents and Typically-Developing Siblings of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Nuttall is interested in the ways in which having a child/sibling with Autism Spectrum Disorder impacts families. She is particularly interested in the experiences of typically-developing siblings as less is known about their experiences in comparison to the experiences of parents. She currently conducts two studies with siblings of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including a study of adolescents’ experiences funded through a RAIND grant with colleagues Dr. Brooke Ingersoll in the Department of Psychology and Dr. Nicole Talge in the Department of Epidemiology.
  2. Family Conflict, Intimate Partner Violence, and Childhood Maltreatment. Dr. Nuttall is interested in the ways in which conflict impacts parenting and child development. She studies the entire spectrum of conflict, from normative conflict experienced by all families to more extreme forms of family and relational violence, including child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. Dr. Nuttall collaborates with colleagues Dr. Alytia Levendosky, Dr. Anne Bogat, and Dr. Joe Lonstein in the Department of Psychology and Dr. Maria Muzik in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Michigan on a NICHD R01 funded longitudinal study to understand parenting and early child development in the context of intimate partner violence and other stressors.

picture of happy mother playing with baby boy

Developmental Periods and Transitions

  1. Transition to Parenthood and the Intergenerational Transmission of Parenting. Dr. Nuttall is interested in the ways in which individuals transition to the experience of parenting and how early parenting predicts child development and subsequent parenting. She is also interested in the ways parenting is influenced by childhood experiences. She conducts work in this area using a variety of longitudinal datasets following pregnant mothers (including adolescent and at-risk mothers) through the transition to parenthood and assessing child developmental outcomes. For example, Dr. Nuttall currently collaborates with colleagues at MSU and University of Michigan to examine these processes in the context of intimate partner violence.
  2. Transition to Emerging Adulthood. Dr. Nuttall is interested in the ways in which parenting and childhood experiences impact individuals as they transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood. She is interested in family (parent-child and sibling) relationships and romantic relationships during this developmental period. Dr. Nuttall is currently collaborating with social personality psychology colleague Dr. Bill Chopik on a relationship study during this developmental period. She is also conducting multiple studies seeking to understand the experiences of typically-developing sibling of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder during this developmental period.
  3. Early Childhood. Dr. Nuttall is interested in the impact of parenting on early child development, from birth through preschool. She focuses on parent-child interactions during this period, particularly parent-child emotional expression and communication processes about emotions. She has recently extended this work to include teacher-training, working with colleagues Dr. Laura Scharphorn (HighScope) and Dr. Lori Skibbe (HDFS) on a study funded by IES to evaluate a school-based intervention aimed at improving self-regulation in preschool and kindergarten.

More information about Dr. Nuttall’s research can be found on the Family Stress Lab website.