Studying Pathways to Adjustment and Resilience in Kids

Participant taking computer survey photoSPARK stands for Studying Pathways to Adjustment and Resilience in Kids. We are a federally-funded research project from the National Institutes of Health focused on understanding what helps children who have experienced abuse and neglect recover and successfully manage the stressful experiences in their lives.

We work with children who are in Jackson County, Missouri custody who live in residential facilities and in foster homes. Children in state custody are a chronically understudied population, and this project represents one of the few efforts nationwide to understand the process of resilience and gather empirical data on children exposed to maltreatment. The point of gathering this information is to use our results to help guide systems-level changes to improve how we care for children in foster care and promote their life-long success.

Our team is housed within both the Department of Psychology and the Department of Applied Behavioral Science, and the Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies (a unit of the KU Center for Research). Thank you for visiting us today!

You can find out more about the SPARK Project by clicking any of the links above. If you are interested in learning about the new PAIR Project click here.

The SPARK Project has met its final recruitment goal, and we have successfully completed surveys with 300 foster youth across three time points!

Please note that we have ended our recruitment for Time 1 families for the SPARK Project at this time.  A warm "thank you" to all who have participated in the past and to those who are finishing participation now.  Your participation and willingness to share your experiences and insights have made this project a huge success!



Recent SPARK Project Research Findings:

  • Jackson, Y., Gabrielli, J., Fleming, K., Tunno, A. M., & Makanui, P. K. (2014). Untangling the relative contribution of maltreatment severity and frequency to type of behavioral outcome in foster youth. Child abuse & neglect, 38(7), 1147-1159.
  • Gabrielli, J., Jackson, Y., & Brown, S. (2014). Measurement of behavioral and emotional outcomes of youth in foster care: Investigation of the roles of age and placement type. Journal of  Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, published onlinefirst.
  • Hambrick, E. P., Tunno, A. M., Gabrielli, J., Jackson, Y., & Belz, C. (2014). Using Multiple Informants to Assess Child Maltreatment: Concordance Between Case File and Youth Self-Report. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma23(7), 751-771.
  • Jackson, Y., Gabrielli, J., Tunno, A.M., & Hambrick, E.P. (2012). Strategies for longitudinal research with youth in foster care: A demonstration of methods, barriers, and innovations. Children & Youth Services Review. 34(7), 1208-1213.

Progress of Participants

Progress Thermometer

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