Lee Raby portrait
  • Assistant Professor, Psychology Department

Publications

  • Szenczy, A., Bernard, K., Raby, K. L., Garnett, M., & Dozier, M. (2021). Foster parent responsiveness and young children’s diurnal cortisol production. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.22074. Accepted, 10/15/2020.
  • Raby, K. L., Verhage, M. L., Fearon, R. M. P., Fraley, R. C., Roisman, G. I., Van IJzendoorn, M. H., Schuengel, C., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Bernier, A., Ensink, K., Hautamäki, A., Madigan, S., Mangelsdorf, S., Oosterman, M., Priddis, L. E., Wong, M. S., & the Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis. (2020). The latent structure of the Adult Attachment Interview: Large sample evidence from the Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S0954579420000978. Accepted, 08/15/2020.
  • Isenhour, J., Raby, K. L., & Dozier, M. (2021). The persistent associations between early institutional care and diurnal cortisol among children adopted internationally. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.22069. Accepted, 07/31/2020.
  • Nivison, M. D., Facompré, C. R., Raby, K. L., Simpson, J. A., Roisman, G. I., Waters, T. E. A. (2020). Childhood abuse and neglect are prospectively associated with scripted attachment representations in young adulthood. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420000528. Accepted, 07/05/2020.
  • Tabachnick, A. R., Moore, C., Raby, K. L., Goldstein, A., Zajac, L., & Dozier, M. (2020). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia as a moderator of early maltreatment effects on later externalizing problems. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420000152. Accepted, 06/16/2020.
  • Tabachnick, A. R., Raby, K. L., Goldstein, A., Zajac, L., & Dozier, M. (2020). Attachment security in infancy predicts parasympathetic reactivity to frustration in middle childhood. Attachment and Human Development. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2020.1741656. Accepted, 06/16/2020.
  • Lind, T., Raby, K. L., Goldstein A., Bernard, K., & Dozier, M. (2020). Improving social emotional competence in internationally adopted children with the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up intervention. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420000255. Accepted, 06/15/2020.
  • Raby, K. L. & Waters, T. E. A., Tabachnick, A. R., Zajac, L., & Dozier, M. (2020). ncreasing secure base script knowledge of high-risk mothers with an attachment-based parenting intervention. Development and Psychopathology. Accepted, 06/15/2020.
  • Raby, K. L. & R. C. Fraley and G. I. Roisman (2020). Categorical or dimensional measures of attachment? Insights from factor analytic and taxometric research. . Guilford. Accepted, 06/15/2020.
  • Verhage, M. L., Schuengel, C., Duschinksy, R., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Fearon, P. R. M., Madigan, S, Roisman, G. I., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & The Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis (2020). The collaboration of attachment transmission synthesis (CATS): A move to the level of individual participant data meta-analysis. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29, 199–206. DOI: 10.1177/0963721420904967. Published, 01/01/2020.
  • Zajac, L., Raby, K. L., & Dozier, M. (2020). Sustained effects on attachment quality in middle childhood: Results from a randomized clinical trial of the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) intervention. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 61, 417-424. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.13146. Published, 01/2020.
  • Tabachnick, A. R., Raby, K. L., Goldstein, A., Zajac, L., & Dozier, M. (2019). Effects of an attachment-based intervention in infancy on children’s autonomic regulation during middle childhood. Biological Psychology, 143, 22-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.01.006. Published, 01/2019.
  • Raby, K. L., & Dozier, M. (2019). Intervening early to promote the development of adopted and foster children. In H. D. Grotevant (Ed.), The future of adoption. University of Massachusetts Amherst. https://www.umass.edu/ruddchair/sites/default/files/rudd.raby.et.al.pdf. Published, 01/2019.
  • Ostlund, B., Vlisides-Henry, R. D., Crowell, S. E., Raby, K. L., Terrell, S., Brown, M., Tinajero, R., Shakiba, N., Monk, C., Shakib, J., Buchi, K. F., & Conradt, E. (2019). Intergenerational transmission of emotion dysregulation part II: Developmental origins of newborn neurobehavioral risk for psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 833-846. DOI:10.1017/S0954579419000440. Accepted, 01/2019.
  • Raby, K. L. & Dozier, M. (2019). Attachment across the lifespan: Insights from adoptive families. Current Opinion in Psychology, 25, 81–85. DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.03.011. Published, 01/2019.
  • Raby, K. L., Freedman, E., Yarger, H. A., Lind, T., & Dozier, M. (2019). Enhancing the language development of toddlers in foster care by promoting foster parents’ sensitivity: Results from a randomized control trial. Developmental Science, 22, e12753. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12753. Published, 01/2019.
  • Labella, M. H., Raby, K. L., Martin, J., & Roisman, G. I. (2019). Romantic functioning mediates prospective associations between childhood abuse and neglect and parenting outcomes in adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 95–111. https://doi.org/10.1017/S095457941800158X. Accepted, 01/2019.
  • Zajac, L., Raby, K. L., & Dozier, M. (2019). Receptive language abilities of children placed in foster care and children who remained with birth parents after involvement with CPS. Child Maltreatment, 24, 107–112. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559518808224. Published, 01/2019.
  • Zajac, L., Raby, K.L., & Dozier, M. (2019). Attachment state of mind and childhood experiences of maltreatment as predictors of sensitive care from infancy through middle childhood: Results from a longitudinal study of parents involved with Child Protective Services. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 113–125. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579418001554. Published, 01/2019.
  • Conradt, E., Adkins, D. E., Crowell, S. E., Raby, K. L., Diamond, L., & Ellis, B. (2018). Incorporating epigenetic mechanisms to advance prenatal programming theories. Development and Psychopathology, 30, 807-824. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579418000469. Published, 01/2018.
  • Waters, T. E. A., Köber, C., Raby, K. L., Habermas, T., & Fivush, R. (2018). Consistency and stability of narrative coherence: An examination of personal narrative as a domain of adult personality. Journal of Personality, 87, 151–162. DOI: 10.1111/jopy.12377. Published, 01/2018.
  • DePasquale, C. E., Raby, K. L., Hoye, J. & Dozier, M. (2018). Parenting predicts Strange Situation cortisol reactivity in children adopted internationally. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 89, 86-91. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.01.003. Published, 01/2018.
  • Verhage, M. L., Fearon, P. R. M., Schuengel, C., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Madigan, S….The Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis (2018). Examining ecological constraints on the intergenerational transmission of attachment via individual participant data meta-analysis. Child Development, 89, 2023–2037. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13085. Published, 01/2018.
  • Waters, T.E.A., Raby, K.L., Ruiz, S.K., Martin, J., & Roisman, G.I. (2018). Adult attachment representations and the quality of romantic and parent-child relationships: An examination of the unique contributions of coherence of discourse and secure base script knowledge. Developmental Psychology, 54, 2371–2381. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dev0000607. Published, 01/2018.

Research Statement

One of the most longstanding questions in the field of developmental psychology is whether early experiences with parents and other caregivers have a lasting influence on individuals’ development. Despite the extensive amount of theoretical and empirical attention this question has received, many issues remain unsettled.

Current and Past Research

One source debate in this field is whether early parent-child relationships contribute to competent adaptation across the entire life-course or whether the consequences of early caregiving experiences being less influential over time as individuals encounter other influences, such as relationships with peers and educational opportunities (Clarke & Clarke, 2000; Kagan, 1996). My colleagues and I used data from a longitudinal study that prospectively followed participants from birth to adulthood to demonstrate that individuals who experienced unsupportive care during the first three years of life are at an increased risk for mental health problems during adulthood and are more likely to provide lower quality parenting several decades later. In addition, we provided evidence that individuals who experienced unsupportive early caregiving are less likely to form committed romantic partnerships and have lower educational attainment during adulthood. Importantly, the consequences of early caregiving for these outcomes did not fade with time. Indeed, the effects of early caregiving for social and academic outcomes during childhood were as strong as the effects three decades later.

I have also investigated the mechanisms underlying the potentially long-term effects of early caregiving experiences. Guided by attachment theory (Bowlby, 1988), one potential mediator I have focused on is individuals’ mental representations of close relationships. My search has provided evidence for several of the central principles of attachment theory, including the idea that attachment security has its origins in childhood caregiving experiences, that individual differences in attachment security are somewhat stable across development and across generations, and that attachment-related representations have implications for individuals’ functioning within close relationships during adulthood. I have also addressed basic issues related to the measurement of attachment, including the question of whether dimensional measures of attachment characterize individual differences in attachment more accurately than the traditional attachment categories.

A second potential mechanism that I have investigated is the physiological systems that facilitate individuals’ responses to threats and stressors. Consistent with idea that early caregiving experiences exert a long-term influence on development by becoming biologically embedded in key stress response systems (Shonkoff, Boyce, & McEwen, 2009), my research has demonstrated that individuals with histories of less supportive caregiving or insecure attachments early in life exhibit greater autonomic nervous system reactivity during interpersonally stressful situations later in life. In addition, I have worked with graduate students here at the University of Utah to test whether early experiences of adversity have lasting consequences for the functioning of the neuroendocrine systems among children adopted internationally and whether the formation of secure attachments can promote healthy neuroendocrine functioning among this unique group of children.

Another source of debate is whether these types of correlations reflect a causal effect of parents’ behavior on children’s outcomes or whether the associations are due to other, unmeasured variables such as genetic factors shared between parents and children or families’ socioeconomic environments (Kagan, 2010; McGue, 2010). My colleagues and I have used experimental data from randomized controlled trials of a parenting-focused intervention to test the idea that early caregiving has causal effects on children’s behavior. We have shown that children of parents who received an intervention that improved supportive parenting exhibited more advanced language development, enhanced executive functioning abilities, and typical patterns of biological regulation than children whose parents received the control version of the intervention.

Future research plans

I am extending my work on the mechanisms underlying the developmental consequences of early caregiving through a collaborative project with Elizabeth Conradt and Sheila Crowell. I am a Co-Investigator on this project, which has received funding from NIMH. The overall goal of the project is to examine the intergenerational transmission of emotional dysregulation among a sample of nearly 300 parent-child pairs. This collaboration will offer me opportunities to investigate how prenatal experiences and early postnatal caregiving experiences work together to shape infants’ basic behavioral development, attachment representations, and physiological responses to stress. The first wave of data collection was completed during summer 2020, and I am working with members of our research team—including Developmental and Clinical Psychology graduate students and a post-doctoral researcher—to prepare conference submissions and manuscripts involving these data.

I have also begun to research the development of children who have been adopted. Research with adoptive families afford a unique opportunity to examine the potentially unique effects of early caregiving experiences that are disentangled from any potential inherited genetic factors or prenatal exposures (Rutter, Pickles, Murray, & Eaves, 2001). As a first step towards constructing this program of research, my research team and I have collected survey data from parents living in Utah who recently adopted an infant. This project has helped establish the feasibility of conducting adoption research in Utah and built a registry of Utah adoptive families that can be used for future research. Specifically, over 150 adoptive parents have participated in this project to date. Graduate students that I work with and I are preparing conference submissions and manuscripts involving these data. In addition, these survey data will serve as pilot data for a grant application to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for a project examining the role of the early caregiving environment for shaping the early biobehavioral development of adopted children.

In addition, I have partnered with a community mental health organization (The Children’s Center) to implement a parenting-focused home visiting intervention here in Salt Lake City. This partnership will allow me to extend my earlier research examining the causal effects of the caregiving environment on children’s early behavioral outcomes. We will be submitting a grant application to the National Institute of Mental Health in order to support the evaluation of this intervention when it is offered remotely to parents who are receiving services for substance use during pregnancy.

Research Keywords

  • Stress Response (Neuroanatomy)
  • Parenting
  • Maltreatment
  • Foster Care
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Attachment
  • Adoption

Presentations

  • Speck, S., Brown, M., Gao, M., Kaliush, P. S., Shakiba, N., Conradt, E., Crowell, S. E., & Raby, K. L. (2020, October). Maternal and infant autonomic responses to the Still-Face Paradigm. Poster presentation at the annual meetings of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology. Poster, Presented, 10/01/2020.
  • Raby, K. L., Bernard, K., & Dozier, M. (2020, July). Enhancing diurnal cortisol regulation for internationally adopted infants and young children with a parenting-based intervention. Poster presentation at the International Congress of Infant Studies. Conference Paper, Presented, 07/01/2020.
  • Bakkum, L., Schuengel, C., Verhage, M. L., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Oosterman, M., Madigan, S., Fearon, R. M. P., Roisman, G. I., Raby, K. L., Pace, C. S., Behrens, K. Y., Duschinsky, R. (2020, July). Zooming in on the transmission of adults’ unresolved loss/abuse to infant disorganised attachment: A latent class analysis. Poster presentation at The International Congress of Infant Studies. Poster, Presented, 07/01/2020.
  • Raby, K. L. & Shakiba, N. (2020, July). Infant attachment and cortisol reactivity to the Strange Situation among children adopted internationally. Poster presentation at the International Congress of Infant Studies. Poster, Presented, 07/01/2020.
  • Kaliush, P. R., Brown, M., Crowell, S. E., Tinajero, R., Raby, K. L., Williams, P. G., Ostlund, B. D., Terrell, S., Neff, D., & Conradt, E. (July 2020). Prenatal predictors of infant and maternal sleep. Poster presentation at the International Congress of Infant Studies. Poster, Presented, 07/01/2020.
  • Kaliuh, P. R., Conradt, E., Raby, K. L., Neff, D., Vlisides-Henry, R. D., Terrell, S., & Crowell, S. E. (2020, June). Mental health experiences and suicidal thoughts among pregnant women with histories of self-injurious behaviors. Oral presentation at the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury Annual Conference. Vienna, AT. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 06/01/2020.
  • Raby, K. L. & Speck, B. (November, 2019). Utah adoptive parents’ perspectives on openness in adoptions. Invited talk at United for Adoption Conference 2019. Salt Lake City, UT. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/2019.
  • Raby, K. L., Waters, T. E. A., Tabachnick, A. R., Zajac, L., & Dozier, M. (2019, July). Increasing secure base script knowledge of high-risk mothers with an attachment-based parenting intervention. Paper presentation at the International Conference 2019, Vancouver, Canada. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 07/2019.
  • Confair, R., Morano, C., Haly, M., Castillo, O., Ashiedu, A., Ruglio, D., Gorowara, S., Raby, K. L., Dozier, M., Golinkoff, R. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2019, May). Talking with Toddlers: Conversational Turns in Foster Families after a Parental Responsivity Intervention. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 05/2019.
  • Raby, K. L., Verhage, M. L., Fearon, R. M. P., Fraley, R. C., Roisman, G. I., Van IJzendoorn,…The Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis. (2019, March). The latent structure of the Adult Attachment Interview: Large sample evidence from the Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis. Paper presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, M. D. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/2019.
  • Szency, A., Bernard, K., Raby, K. L., Garnett, M., & Dozier, M. (2018). Foster parent sensitivity and young children’s diurnal cortisol rhythms. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, San Diego, CA. Poster, Presented, 10/2018.
  • Tabachnick, A. R., Raby, K. L., Goldstein, A., Zajac, L., Moore, C., & Dozier, M. (2018). Attachment security in infancy predicts respiratory sinus arrhythmia for Child Protective Services-referred children in middle childhood. Poster presentation at the 2018 annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Quebec City, Canada. Poster, Presented, 10/2018.
  • Raby, K. L., & Dozier, M. (2018). Promoting attachment security among internationally adopted children with histories of early adversity. Paper presentation at the International Conference on Adoption Research, Montreal, Que. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 07/2018.
  • Tabachnick, A. R., Raby, K. L., Goldstein, A., Zajac, L., & Dozier, M. (2018). Parenting intervention in infancy affects stress response systems in middle childhood. Paper presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, Washington, D.C. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 05/2018.
  • Isenhour, J., Carvalho Pereira, J., Dozier, M., & Raby, K. L. (2018). Associations between early institutionalization and diurnal cortisol regulation within internationally adopted children. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Denver, CO. Poster, Presented, 04/2018.
  • Robe, R., Swenson, N., Caron, Z., May, A., & Raby, K. L. (2018). Association between secure base script knowledge and caregiving behaviors of high-risk parents. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Denver, CO. Poster, Presented, 04/2018.
  • Raby, K. L., Bernard, K., DePasquale, C. E., Hoye, J., & Dozier, M. (2017). Early social deprivation and the diurnal cortisol regulation of children adopted internationally. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, Washington, DC. Poster, Presented, 11/01/2017.
  • Raby, K. L., & Roisman, G. I. (2017). New insights and questions regarding the intergenerational transmission of attachment. In C Schuengel (Chair), Individual participant data synthesis of attachment transmission: Unlocking new questions and findings. Paper presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/01/2017.
  • DePasquale, C. E., Raby, K. L., & Dozier, M. (2017). Effects of an attachment-based intervention on cortisol production during the Strange Situation among children adopted internationally. Poster presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/01/2017.
  • Dozier, M., Lind, T., Raby, K. L., & Caron, E. B. (2017). Implementing an attachment-based intervention for toddlers in a community setting: Effects on inhibitory control. In L. Berlin (Chair), Community implementation of attachment-based interventions: New frontiers. Paper presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/01/2017.
  • Yarger, H., Lind, T. L., Raby, K. L., & Dozier, M. (2017). Indiscriminately friendly behavior mediates the association between pre-adoptive risk and later disruptive behavior. In M Dozier (Chiar), Adversity and its consequences for child adaptation. Paper presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/01/2017.
  • Raby, K. L., Zajac, L., Lind, T., Freedman, E., Sanders, M., & Dozier, M. (2017). The significance of responsive parenting for language development and behavior problems among children adopted internationally. In K. Koss and J. Lawler (Co-chairs), The role of parenting in ameliorating the impact of early life stress on children’s behavioral and biological functioning. Paper presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/01/2017.
  • Panel member for “Raising our Babies: The Most Important Job in the World.” University of Utah, March, 2017. Panel, Presented, 03/01/2017.
  • Zajac, L., Raby, K. L., Freedman, E., & Dozier, M. (2017). Receptive language differences for children who stayed with birth parents and children placed in foster care after CPS involvement. Poster presentation at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX. Poster, Presented, 03/01/2017.
  • Raby, K. L. (2017). Overcoming the consequences of neglect with the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up intervention. Invited talk at Children’s Center’s eighteenth annual “Bridging the Gap” conference. Salt, Lake City, UT. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/01/2017.