Current Projects


Behavioral Control and Adjustment Study

This study examines the ways in which actual and perceived behavioral control influence the relation between childhood adversity and young adult adjustment, in particular, anxiety symptomatology. [COMPLETED]


Family Study

This study examines 6 year old children and caregivers' emotional behaviors and interactions. [ON HOLD]


Measuring Emotional Development Study

This study is a cross sectional examination of emotion competence skill across emotion knowledge, expression, and regulation, as assessed at ages 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19. This study will focus heavily on methodological considerations inherent in measuring these skills behaviorally across development. [ON HOLD]

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Child Representation and Regulation Project (UC Riverside)

The REACH lab is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Adversity and Adaptation lab at UC Riverside, directed by Dr. Tuppett Yates. This project has been following a group of children since the age of 4 who are now 11.


Research Mission

The REACH Program is a research lab at California State University, Northridge, directed by Dr. Sara Berzenski. Our research focuses on understanding the development of emotion competence, in both typical and atypical (i.e., adverse) contexts.

Emotion competence describes a set of skills that children develop beginning in toddlerhood and preschool all the way through adolescence and adulthood including emotion knowledge (being able to perceive and understand emotions felt by oneself as well as by others), emotion expression (displaying the appropriate level and type of emotion in varying situations), and emotion regulation (managing both felt and expressed emotions under challenging conditions).

The studies conducted by the REACH Program evaluate how these skills develop, how they relate to each other, and how that development is influenced by outside factors. Specifically, we study these skills in children of many different backgrounds and contexts, including those with a history of child maltreatment, to fully understand the specific ways in which particular developmental supports (e.g., caregiving) are crucial for supporting the development of emotion competence, and in turn, the ways in which emotion competence may be a protective factor for adjustment in adverse contexts.


Stay tuned for information about the Emerging Adult Emotional Adjustment Study and the Emotion Recognition Study!


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