Wonjung Oh, Ph. D.
Prior to joining the faculty at Texas Tech University, I completed Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychology, Center for Human Growth and Development, and Women and Infants Mental Health Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where I worked with Brenda Volling, Richard Gonzalez, Maria Muzik on several NIH longitudinal studies across the transitions in the family environments (perinatal, postpartum, and the birth of a second child).
During my Ph.D. training, I was fortunate to work with Kenneth H. Rubin at the University of Maryland, College Park on a NIMH longitudinal study that focused on the development of adaptive and maladaptive behaviors and relationships across the transitions from elementary school to middle school to high school. I have acquired in both advanced quantitative methodology (longitudinal and multi-level models, big data and data mining techniques) during my doctoral minor in Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation, and postdoctoral training work with Richard Gonzalez at the University of Michigan.
I am an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, and also Director of the Child Development and Relationships Laboratory at Texas Tech University.
My research interests focus on change patterns of social and emotional development in childhood and adolescence and relationship processes in family and peer. Given that children and families experience many transitions over time – developmental transitions and various transitions in family and school environments, it may appear that I work on many different topics. In fact, there is a simple theme across all my research. I am interested in how individual children and families change and what contributes to adaptive or maladaptive change patterns.
Developmental cascading effects encompass the processes by which early social and emotional difficulties manifest in serious dysfunctional patterns of behavior and relationship across lifespan development. To examine these developmental cascades, my program of research includes basic and applied studies of social and emotional development in childhood and family processes, with a specific interest in risk and protective factors for adaptive and maladaptive behavior across developmental transitions and transitional periods in family and school environments. Often, transitions bring considerable stress and disruptions that can exacerbate existing problems, as well as new opportunities that may ameliorate difficulties.
Studies that I have conducted from several NIH longitudinal projects revealed individual differences in the developmental pathways of social and emotional problems (e.g., anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, depression, PTSD) and family and peer relationships during the periods of perinatal, postpartum, parenthood, siblinghood, and school transitions. The findings from my published papers demonstrated that subgroups of children and families showed resiliency and adaptation, whereas others had maladaptive developmental trajectories of behavior and relationship across these transitions, highlighting distinct change patterns and heterogeneity in children and families.
I have always been interested in applications of my research. Our research seeks to address applied research questions pertaining to developmental cascades from early childhood into later development that can eventually inform well-timed and targeted intervention efforts that could interrupt dysfunctional cascade effects and promote positive cascades over time.
I actively seek novel, innovative approaches to address applied research questions pertaining to developmental and family processes, and the manner in which child, family and peer factors facilitate children's developmental outcomes.