Judy Garber, Ph.D.

(615) 343-8714

313 Hobbs

Judy Garber, Ph.D.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and Professor of Psychology & Human Development; Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Director, Developmental Psychopathology Research Training Program

VKC Member

Overview of Interests

Garber's research program focuses on developmental psychopathology. She studies biopsychosocial processes underlying the development and maintenance of emotional disorders, particularly depression, anxiety, and somatization with the goal of developing preventive interventions for children and adolescents. Garber's funded research has examined cognitive vulnerability and family dysfunction among offspring of depressed parents, finding that the family environment and stress contribute to the development of negative cognitions. In two other funded multi-site studies, she studied the relation of treating parents’ depression to changes in children’s symptoms and functioning. These studies also examined whether depressed parents show improvements in their parenting style as they recover from depression. If parental treatment for depression does not reduce risk of dysfunction in offspring, this might then suggest that further interventions beyond simply reducing parents' depressive symptoms are necessary for preventing psychopathology in at-risk offspring. Garber's research also involves testing programs for the prevention of depression in at-risk offspring of depressed parents. In a multi-site study, Garber and colleagues tested the efficacy of a cognitive behavioral prevention program (CBP) and found that CBP was significantly more effective than usual care in preventing new onsets of depressive episodes in high-risk adolescents. Garber and different colleagues conducted another randomized controlled trial (RCT) testing an intervention that teaches parenting skills and cognitive restructuring to parents and coping skills to youth. Finally, in another multi-site RCT, Garber is testing the effects of an online, coached mindfulness intervention with adolescents high in negative affectivity. Results showed that youth in the mindfulness condition reported lower NA after experiencing a stressor as compared to youth in the assessment-only control condition. Currently, they are conducting a larger RCT with the addition of an active control condition.