Regulation of Emotion in ASD Adults, Children, & Teens

Regulation of Emotion in Autistic Adults,
Children, & Teens (REAACT) Research Program

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The REAACT Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh is dedicated to research on emotion regulation and associated emotional and behavioral concerns in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The REAACT Lab, directed by Dr. Carla Mazefsky, involves investigations of mechanisms underlying emotion regulation in autistic individuals and the development of new assessment and treatment approaches. Current studies include ages 3 through late life. The REAACT Lab was recently awarded an NIH Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) grant focused on improving understanding of mental health and suicide risk in autistic adults.  

The REAACT Lab also aims to train undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, clinical psychology pre-doctoral interns, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty in emotion regulation, measurement development, and in autism research.

The REAACT Research Lab is currently seeking participants for several research studies: 

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Although other symptoms might come to mind first when people think of autism, emotion regulation is something that touches every aspect of the lives of autistic people and their family members. Emotion regulation refers to the broad set of processes responsible for modifying emotional reactions. When emotion regulation is impaired, it gets in the way of school performance, social interactions, the ability to find and maintain work, and it increases parent stress.

We believe that impaired emotion regulation is also one of the primary mechanisms underlying problematic behavior such as aggression as well as the high rates of co-occurring psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Thus, by improving understanding of how and why emotion regulation is impaired in ASD, how to measure it in a way that is sensitive to change, and how to improve it, we believe we have the potential to substantially improve overall outcomes for autistic individuals.