Active Research Projects
Primary Research and Clinical Interests
Dr. Pears studies a number of early childhood predictors of behavioral and social problems with the goal of developing preventive interventions. Specifically, she is interested in the effects of early adverse circumstances (including maltreatment and poverty) on children’s social and academic development. She has studied the school readiness skills and early school adjustment of high-risk children with a particular focus on self-regulatory skills. Additionally, Dr. Pears has examined longer term indicators of school adjustment in children at risk for poor school outcomes, including how school adjustment is transmitted from one generation to the next. She has translated this research into an intervention to improve the school readiness skills of children at high risk for poor academic and social adjustment: the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program (www.kidsintransitiontoschool.org). She is the principal investigator on three randomized efficacy trials of the KITS Program including maltreated children in foster care, children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral or social problems, and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Healey, C. V., & Yoerger, K. (2013). Immediate effects of a school readiness intervention for children in foster care. Early Education and Development, 24, 771-791.
Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Capaldi, D. M., Kerr, D. C. R., & Fisher, P. A. (2013). Father-child transmission of school adjustment: A prospective intergenerational study. Developmental Psychology, 49(4), 792-803.
Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., & Fisher, P. A. (2012). Effects of a school readiness intervention for children in foster care on oppositional and aggressive behavior in kindergarten. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 2361-2366.
Pears, K. C., Heywood, C. V., Kim, H. K., & Fisher, P. A. (2011). Prereading deficits in children in foster care. School Psychology Review, 40(1), 140-148.
Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Bruce, J., Kim, H., & Yoerger, K. (2010). Early elementary school adjustment of maltreated children in foster care: The roles of inhibitory control and caregiver involvement. Child Development, 81(5), 1550-1564.
Pears, K. C., Capaldi, D. M., & Owen, L. D. (2007). Substance use risk across three generations: The roles of parent discipline practices and inhibitory control. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 373-386.