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RIA partners with Alberti Bullying Center for $3.4 million grant on high-risk youth

By Cathy Wilde

Release Date: August 19, 2015

Rina Das Eiden

Amanda Nickerson

“There are many psychological and social factors that have been implicated in youth violence.”
Kenneth Leonard, director, Research Institute on Addictions
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Scientists at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions will collaborate with UB’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention for a five-year study examining violence, victimization and substance abuse among high-risk youth.

“In this study, we will examine some pathways from infancy to adolescence that explain how and under what conditions adolescents engage in violence, become victims of violence, and engage in substance use that increases the risk for violence and victimization,” says principal investigator Rina Das Eiden, PhD, senior research scientist at RIA.

Eiden’s co-principal investigator on the study is Amanda Nickerson, PhD, director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention in UB’s Graduate School of Education.

“Dr. Nickerson brings expertise in the areas of bullying and victimization in adolescence and clinical experience in working with children who have experienced trauma,” Eiden says.

The study will look at more than 200 children Eiden has followed since birth and who are at high risk for negative outcomes because of their exposure to high rates of violence in their environments.

“Results from this study will help us understand the individual, family, peer and neighborhood factors that place youth at risk for violence and what protects them from engaging in violence,” Nickerson says. “This is important for informing the timing and content of prevention and intervention efforts.”

RIA Director Kenneth Leonard, PhD, praised the collaborative nature of the grant. “There are many psychological and social factors that have been implicated in youth violence,” he says. “Understanding the intricate links between these factors, substance use and the development of adolescent violence is best served by interdisciplinary collaborations between experts with different perspectives on the problem.”

The study is funded by a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Co-investigators include Joseph Lucke, PhD, senior research scientist at RIA, Jamie Ostrov, PhD, associate professor in UB’s Department of Psychology, Stephanie Godleski, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology and former postdoctoral associate at RIA, Pamela Schuetze, PhD, professor, Department of Psychology at Buffalo State College, and William Wieczorek, PhD, director, Center for Health and Social Research at Buffalo State College.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence. To learn more, visit buffalo.edu/ria

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