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Exploring Relationships between Mental and Physical Health

We are also recruiting new DePaul undergraduate students to join our team for the 2023-2024 academic year. Team meetings will be in-person from 9-9:40 on Mondays. Please contact Dr. Carter for more information!

The Healthy Families Lab at DePaul University searches for new and innovative ways to support youth and their families in improving their mental and physical health. We hope to increase children’s time spent in physical activity and reduce sedentary time. We are dedicated to helping children and families remove their barriers to healthy lifestyles. As a research lab, we are trying to be creative in reducing barriers to physical activity while making it fun and enjoyable.


Primary Areas of Interest

Woman Stretching
Teacher and Young Student
Image by Rainier Ridao


How can we get more youth moving?

We are partnering with Little League International, America SCORES Chicago, and the Center for Healing and Justice through Sports to keep all youth in the game with high quality sports experiences.

We are currently examining how parents perceive their children's sports involvement with respect to emotional and social climate during the pandemic. 

We recently conducted a study on how social support, cultural identity, stress, and mood influence physical activity in female college students. 


How can we improve coping skills to manage stress?

We often use a stress and coping framework to understand how healthy habits are developed and maintained. We know that individuals experiencing high levels of stressors are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors and that healthy behaviors can buffer the impact of stressors on health outcomes.

Beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year, we will be working on a federally-funded grant to expand trauma-informed mentoring services to more schools within the Chicagoland area.


How do we create interventions that are culturally-tailored and environmentally-sensitive to reduce health disparities?

Ethnic and racial disparities in health outcomes are due to many factors. These include social determinants of health such as segregation and discrimination that influence the access and quality of health care. We are interested in exploring how individuals navigate their health decisions based on their cultural context.

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