Summary of Research
Professor Cole’s research interests center around developmental psychopathology in general and childhood depression in particular. Working from the premise that the origins and perpetuation of mental illness have large interpersonal components, he studies the relation between childhood depression and patterns of parent-child interactions, peer relations, and competency-based feedback from significant others.
He further suggests that cognitive models of depression must take into consideration the level of the child’s cognitive development. His studies imply that adult models of depression need substantial modification when applied to children.
Related interests include the assessment of childhood disorders and the prediction of adolescent suicide. Understanding suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior in the context of adolescent development, is an underlying theme of this research. Other areas of research include developing new methodologies for clinical and psychopathology research, validating clinical assessment instruments, and examining change in non-experimental research designs.
Children who are chronically victimized by peers are at risk for many emotional and behavioral problems, including depression, anxiety, suicide, and aggression. The proposed research examines the cognitive mechanisms whereby peer victimization conveys such risk. Identification of moderators and mediators of these relations will inform social, educational, and clinical efforts to interrupt the negative effects of chronic peer victimization on problematic emotional-behavioral outcomes.