RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 3, 2006) — Dr. Marion K. Underwood, a professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and a former teacher of the year at the university, has received a $597,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the origins, development and outcomes of social aggression in children. The stipend will be awarded over a five-year period.
Under the terms of her grant, which is formerly known as the Independent Scientist Career Award, Underwood will spend 75 percent of her time conducting research in her areas of expertise — anger, aggression, gender and children’s peer relationships.
Specifically, she will conduct a longitudinal study of social aggression beginning with 2- and- 3- year-old children. The long-term goals of Underwood’s research are to better understand the role of social aggression in the developmental psychopathology of girls and boys and to determine whether reducing social aggression might be helpful in preventing the development of externalizing disorders, internalizing problems, personality disorders and eating disorders.
Underwood, who is a recognized national authority on aggression among girls and has been quoted on the subject in numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, said the results of this project could promote positive social outcomes for children.
“Careful analyses of how aggression unfolds, both developmentally and in real time, will guide the future development of prevention and intervention programs that could help reduce social aggression,” Underwood said.
Underwood is also the principal investigator on a similar effort, called the Friendship Project, which is currently in its third year. That endeavor involves a sample of 281 children, ages 9–14, and investigates developmental origins and outcomes of how children express anger in peer relationships. In that study, Underwood is examining how children use social aggression in various contexts, such as face-to-face, behind-the-back and online.
Prior to joining UTD in 1998, Underwood earned her Ph.D. in child clinical psychology from Duke University. Her approach to understanding gender and aggression is described in her recent book, Social Aggression among Girls.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls nearly 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.