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Kate McLaughlin
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Kate  McLaughlin, PhD

Research Overview

Katie McLaughlin is a clinical psychologist and psychiatric epidemiologist with interests in the effects of the childhood social environment on risk for psychopathology and in the development of sustainable interventions to prevent the onset of psychiatric disorders in disadvantaged segments of the population. Dr. McLaughlin's research examines the impact of childhood exposure to trauma, violence, and social disadvantage on risk for psychiatric disorders across the life course. She has identified psychological, physiological, and neurodevelopmental mechanisms that underlie the relationship between exposure to adverse environments in childhood and the subsequent onset of psychiatric disorders, including elevated emotional and physiological reactivity to stress, poor emotion regulation skills, and disrupted development of the cerebral cortex. Dr. McLaughlin’s current research includes a project examining the impact of childhood adversity on the development of physiological stress response systems and the role that these systems play in increasing risk for mental health problems among adolescents exposed to adverse rearing environments as well as a neuroimaging project examining the impact of child maltreatment on brain development and neural functioning in adolescents.

Dr. McLaughlin is also involved in the development and evaluation of interventions aimed at preventing the onset of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. She is currently working with the Boston Public Schools to develop a stress-reduction intervention aimed at preventing the onset of anxiety and mood disorders in high school students.

About Katie McLaughlin

Katie McLaughlin received a joint Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University in 2008. After completing her doctoral training, Dr. McLaughlin was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Health and Society Scholar Fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health. During her two years as an RWJ Scholar, she was also appointed as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. In 2010, Dr. McLaughlin completed the RWJ program and was an Instructor in the Department of Health Care Policy. She joined the Division of General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School as a research faculty in 2011 and is an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry.

Key Publications

  1. McLaughlin, K.A., Nelson, C.A., Fox, N.A., & Zeanah, C.H. (2012). Attachment security as a mechanism linking foster care placement with improved mental health outcomes in previously institutionalized children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 46-55.
  2. McLaughlin, K.A.,Gadermann, A.M., Hwang, I., Sampson, N.A., the WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium, & Kessler, R.C. (2012). Parent psychopathology and offspring mental disorders in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. British Journal of Psychiatry, 200, 290-299.
  3. McLaughlin, K.A., Fox, N.A., Zeanah, C.H., & Nelson, C.A., (2011). Adverse rearing environments and neural development in children: The development of frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry. Biological Psychiatry, 70, 1008-1015.
  4. McLaughlin, K.A., Breslau, J., Green, J.G., Lakoma, M.D., Sampson, N.A., Zaslavsky, A.M., & Kessler, R.C. (2011). Childhood family socioeconomic status and the onset, persistence, and severity of DSM-IV disorders in a U.S. national sample. Social Science and Medicine, 73, 1088-1096.
  5. McLaughlin, K.A. (2011). The public health impact of major depression: A call for interdisciplinary prevention efforts. Prevention Science, 12, 361-371.
  6. McLaughlin, K.A., Green, J.G., Gruber, M.J., Sampson, N.A., Zaslavsky, A.M., Kessler, R.C. (in press). Childhood adversities and first onset of psychiatric disorders in a national sample of adolescents. Archives of General Psychiatry.
  7. McLaughlin, K.A., Kubzansky, L.D., Dunn, E.C., Waldinger, R., Vaillant, G.E., & Koenen, K.C. (2010). Childhood social environment, emotional reactivity to stress, and mood and anxiety disorders across the life course. Depression and Anxiety, 27, 1087-1094.
  8. McLaughlin, K.A., Fox, N.A., Zeanah, C.H., Sheridan, M.A., Marshall, P.J., & Nelson, C.A. (2010). Delayed maturation in brain electrical activity partially explains the association between early environmental deprivation and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Biological Psychiatry, 68, 329-336.
  9. Green, J.G., McLaughlin, K.A., Berglund, P., Gruber, M., Sampson, N., & Kessler, R.C. (2010). Childhood adversities and adult psychopathology in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) I: Associations with first onset of DSM-IV disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 113-123.
  10. McLaughlin, K.A., Green, J.G., Gruber, M., Sampson, N., & Kessler, R.C. (2010). Childhood adversities and adult psychopathology in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) II: Associations with persistence of DSM-IV disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 124-132.
  11. McLaughlin, K.A., Conron, K.J., Koenen, K.C., & Gilman, S.E. (2010). Childhood adversity, adult stressful life events, and risk of past-year psychiatric disorder: A test of the stress sensitization hypothesis in a population-based sample of adults. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1647-1658.
  12. McLaughlin, K.A., Fairbanks, J.A., Gruber, M., Jones, R.T., Osofsky, J.D., Pfefferbaum, B., Sampson, N., & Kessler, R.C. (2010). Trends in serious emotional disturbance among youths exposed to Hurricane Katrina. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 990-1000.
  13. McLaughlin, K.A., Hatzenbuehler, M.L., & Hilt, L.M. (2009). Emotion dysregulation as a mechanism linking peer victimization to internalizing symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 894-904.
  14. McLaughlin, K.A., Fairbanks, J.A., Gruber, M., Jones, R.T., Pfefferbaum, B., Sampson, N., & Kessler, R.C. (2009). Serious emotional disturbance among youth exposed to Hurricane Katrina two years post-disaster. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48, 1069-1078.
  15. McLaughlin, K.A., & Hatzenbuehler, M.L. (2009). Stress, anxiety sensitivity, and internalizing symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 659-669.
  16. McLaughlin, K.A., & Hatzenbuehler, M. (2009). Mechanisms linking stressful life events and mental health problems in a prospective, community-based sample of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 44, 153-160.
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