Lauren S. Wakschlag, PhD
Vice Chair for Scientific & Faculty Development
Department of Medical Social Sciences
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
633 N. Saint. Clair St., 19th Fl.
Chicago, IL 60611
T: 312- 503-9807
F: 312- 503-9800
Lauren Wakschlag, Ph.D is a developmental clinical psychologist. She received her doctorate in Human Development and Mental Health Research at the University of Chicago. Dr. Wakschlag completed a fellowship in the Section of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Chicago and served on its faculty for 12 years, during which time she built a clinical research program focused on preschool disruptive behavior. Following this, she was on the faculty of the Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR), University of Illinois at Chicago for four years, where she developed and directed the Program on Developmental Mechanisms of Psychopathology and chaired IJR’s Intellectual Exchange Committee.
As Professor and Vice Chair for Scientific & Faculty Development, Dr. Wakschlag directs the Department’s One Northwestern initiative and oversees faculty development and the development of scientific exchange activities. Her research is focused on translational approaches to elucidating mechanisms and phenomenology of early emerging disruptive behavior. In particular, she and her colleagues have proposed a “blueprint” for a developmental approach to disruptive behavior that combines developmental specification with lifespan coherence. At MSS, the Developmental Mechanisms Program emphasizes developmentally-based measurement science including novel observational methodologies for use at varying developmental periods. The centerpiece of this work is NIMH-funded measurement development of tools for characterizing the phenotype of disruptive behavior in preschoolers in a manner distinct from the normative misbehavior of early childhood. This includes (a) a recently completed study to validate the Disruptive Behavior Diagnostic Observation Schedule (DB-DOS), a standardized laboratory observation method for assessing clinically salient behavior in preschoolers; and (b) the new “MAPS” study designed to validate the Multidimensional Assessment of Preschool Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB) a paper-and pencil measure of four dimensions of disruptive behavior theorized to comprise its defining features: i.e., Temper Loss, Noncompliance, Aggression and Low Concern for Others. Developmental specification will occur via defining clinical patterns as deviation from normative misbehaviors in this age period. MAPS is comprised of a demographically stratified sample of 3,700 preschoolers. External validity of this multidimensional approach is to be established in relation to laboratory assessments of behavior and component neurocognitive processes, including the use of event related potentials (ERPs). This work is being conducted with a team of national co-investigators including, Margaret Briggs-Gowan, PhD (U-Conn), Patrick Tolan, PhD (UVA) & Alice Carter, PhD and neuroscientists collaborators from the NIMH Intramural Research Program (Daniel Pine, MD., Ellen Leibenluft, MD & James Blair, PhD).
Dr. Wakschlag’s work on mechanisms of psychopathology has a central focus on prenatal origins of health and disease. In particular, this is exemplified by her NIDA-funded work on prenatal smoking as a putative mechanism in pathways to disruptive behavior. This program of research has focused on elucidating exposure-related phenotypes across developmental periods and identifying how exposure interacts with biologic and social risk in these pathways. . She and her colleagues discovered an interaction of exposure and the MAOA genotype with varying patterns by sex, and modification of exposure effects by early responsive parenting. She is currently dual PI with Kimberly Espy, PhD (UNL) on the “Substrates” study, a preschool follow-up of a pregnancy cohort oversampled for exposure (n=375). The Substrates Study is designed to elucidate exposure-related behavioral and neurocognitive phenotypes in early childhood using state-of-the-art laboratory measures. Substrates also combines molecular and behavioral genetic approaches to examine the complex interface of genetic susceptibility and exposure in these pathways in collaboration with Ed Cook, MD & Brian Mustanski, PhD (UIC) and Andrew Skol, PhD (U of C).
Wakschlag, L., Leventhal, B., Pine, D., Pickett, K. & Carter, A. (2006). Elucidating early mechanisms of developmental psychopathology: The case of prenatal smoking and disruptive behavior. Child Development, 77, 893-906
Wakschlag, L., Briggs-Gowan, M, Carter, A., Hill, C., Danis, B., Keenan, K., McCarthy, K., & Leventhal, B. (2007). A developmental framework for distinguishing disruptive behavior from normative misbehavior in preschool children. Journal of Child Psychology, Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines (Special issue on Preschool Mental Health), 48, 976-987.
Wakschlag, L., Hill, C., Carter, A., Danis, B., Egger, H., Keenan, K., Leventhal, B., Cicchetti, D., Maskowitz, K., & Briggs-Gowan, M. (2008). Observational assessment of preschool disruptive behavior: Part I: Reliability of the Disruptive Behavior Diagnostic Observation Schedule (DB-DOS). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47, 622-631.
Wakschlag, L., Briggs-Gowan, M., Hill, C., Danis, B., Leventhal, B., Egger, H., Keenan, K., Cicchetti, D., Maskowitz, K., & Carter, A. (2008). Observational assessment of preschool disruptive behavior: Part II: Validity of the Disruptive Behavior Diagnostic Observation Schedule (DB-DOS). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,47, 632-641.
Wakschlag, L., Kistner, E., Pine, D., Biesecker, G., Pickett, K., Skol, A., Dukic, V., Leventhal, B., Cox, N., Burns, J., Wright, R., & Cook, E. (2009). Interaction of prenatal exposure to cigarettes and MAOA genotype in pathways to youth antisocial behavior. Molecular Psychiatry, advance online publication (3/09).
De Los Reyes, A., Henry, D., Tolan, P. & Wakschlag, L. (2009) Linking informant discrepancies to observed variations in young children’s disruptive behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 637-652.
Chacko, A., Wakschlag, L., Hill, C., Danis, B. & Espy, K. (2009). Viewing preschool disruptive behavior and ADHD through a developmental lens: What do we know and what do we need to know? Clinics of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of North America, 18, 627-643.
Pickett, K., Kasza, K., Biesecker, G., Wright, R., & Wakschlag, L. (2009). Women who remember, women who don’t: A methodologic study of maternal recall of smoking during pregnancy. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 11, 1166-1174.
Dukic, V., Niessner, M., Pickett, K., Benowitz, N., & Wakschlag, L. (2009). Calibrating self-reported measures of maternal smoking in pregnancy via bioassays using a Monte Carlo approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 6, 1744-1759.
Wakschlag, L., Tolan, P. & Leventhal, B. (2010). Research Review: ‘Ain’t misbehavin’: Towards a developmentally-sensitive nosology for preschool disruptive behavior. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 51, 3-22.
Wakschlag, L. S., Metzger, A., Darfler, A., Ho, J., Mermelstein, R., & Rathouz, P. J. (2010). The Family Talk About Smoking (FTAS) Paradigm: New Directions for Assessing Parent-Teen Communications About Smoking. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Epub ahead of print.