In the research laboratory led by Zachary Adams, PhD, investigators are focused on improving access to high-quality clinical services for children, teens and families impacted by mental health problems and substance use—through research, clinical care and education.
The Adams Lab team works closely with partners across the United States—from various schools of Indiana University to the Medical University of South Carolina. Members also work closely with primary-care providers, area schools, and other local and state agencies to deliver evidence-based programs to promote emotional well-being and reduce risk for substance use problems in children and teens.
Researchers are particularly focused on developing and evaluating new ways to use technology to improve behavioral health services for youth and families. Investigators are involved in several exciting projects where these technologies are used to deliver or improve interventions and provide support to community-based providers. Other projects in the Adams Lab involve refining existing interventions designed to promote resilience in young people who have experienced trauma and struggle with certain behavioral or emotional problems, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use, risky sexual behavior and depression. Other work focuses on answering questions about how stress, adversity and traumatic experiences are related to how teens think, feel and act. This research team carries out studies aimed at uncovering how certain aspects of a person’s biology make some people especially vulnerable to the effects of stress and substance use problems, while other biological factors promote resilience. By understanding how a variety of factors influence how young people respond to stressful experiences, researchers can do a better job designing and delivering interventions that work.