Participants needed to study how the use of technology strengthens family ties

Girl looking at watch

Researchers at FIU’s Center for Children and Families are recruiting participants for a research study to better understand how technology can strengthen family relationships.

Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), researchers seek to recruit families with children between six and nine years old and speak English or Spanish. Each family is compensated up to $240 for participating in all parts of the study, including four virtual meetings and monitoring family members using smartphones and wearable devices for two months—all completely online.

The Early Childhood Mobile Interventions Project is led by Adela Timmons, psychology assistant professor and director of the Technological Interventions for Ecological Systems (TIES) Lab at FIU’s Center for Children and Families. Her research examines how childhood stress, trauma and adversity become biologically rooted and impact how we respond to stress and our ability to regulate emotions in our interpersonal relationships.

“We view families as interconnected systems, where family members help each other to regulate emotions, which impacts physiology and health,” Timmons said. “Our hope is that this study will help us refine the future technology of mental health interventions for families in our communities.”

To conduct her research, Timmons uses technology like smartphones and wearable devices to capture relationship dynamics as they naturally unfold.

“We are currently developing, testing and validating mobile applications that can measure small changes in the electrical activity of the skin, skin temperature, heart rate, movement, sleep, self-report, audio, video and GPS data, among many others,” Timmons said. “The development of these data collection systems could help us gain new insights about family functioning and will inform our understanding of how small-scale events impact long-term health.”

If you are interested in participating, call 305-684-3905 or email to complete a brief phone screening and see if you are eligible.

FIU’s Center for Children and Families offers a wide range of telehealth and in-person services for children and teens. For more information, click here.