The Familee Lab is directed by Dr. Richard M Lee, Professor of Psychology, at the University of Minnesota. We are interested in the ways in which race, ethnicity, and migration relate to the development, well-being, and mental health of individuals and families from diverse cultural backgrounds with a specific focus on Asian American populations

1) Individual and cultural differences – We seek to advance theory and measurement of culture-specific constructs, including ethnic/racial identity, perceived discrimination, culture-specific parenting, and intergenerational parent-child conflicts, as well as more general traits, including regulatory focus, family mental health stigma, and social connectedness.

Current Projects

  • Development and validation of a measure on diaspora identity in different migrant populations. [ONGOING DATA COLLECTION]
  • Understanding how Asian Americans perceive and respond to discriminatory events.
  • Family ethnic/racial socialization processes and youth adjustment in mono-racial, transracial, and multi-racial families.
  • Examination of cultural factors that may moderate the association between the Asian flush (ALDH2 deficiency) and alcohol usage in Asian American college students
  • Collaboration to develop a measure of parent motivations and approaches to raising their children. [ONGOING DATA COLLECTION]
  • Collaboration with developmental psychology and public health colleagues from other institutions to examine the interplay between puberty, racialized experiences, and health.

2) Migration and adaptation – Broadly speaking, we are interested in the diaspora experiences of individuals and groups who have been displaced from their homelands, including refugees, adoptees, and other migrant groups (e.g., international students). We have a particular interest in the transracial and transnational life experiences of children, youth and adults adopted internationally from South Korea and raised in White families and communities. We specifically examine how adopted individuals and their families negotiate racial and ethnic differences, work through questions around birth family, adoption and culture, and develop coherent and affirming identities and healthy, positive relationships.

Current Projects

  • 7-year follow-up data on more than 100 Korean adoptee families who completed parent surveys in 2007 and parent and adolescent surveys in 2014.
  • Cross-sectional survey, mixed-method and qualitative interview data on adopted Korean American adults to understand their diverse and unique experiences as Korean adoptees.
  • Investigating attitudes toward genetic testing among international adoptive family members and its role in finding birth family and identity development. [ONGOING DATA COLLECTION]
  • Investigating how direct-to-consumer ancestry genetic testing can be used to find birth family and promote ethnic identity development.

3) Prevention science – We develop, tailor, and implement evidence-based prevention programs to improve the well-being of individuals, families, and organizations. We also investigate factors that facilitate or act as barriers to seeking health care services (e.g., health literacy, family mental health stigma). Some of this work is done in conjunction with the UMN Center for Personalized Prevention Research in Children’s Mental Health which is housed within the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health.

Current Projects

  • Collaboration with Dr. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman to develop a brief parent engagement intervention to increase parent motivation and participation in parent training programs. This project is being pilot tested with families whose children attend child development centers in North Minneapolis and South Minneapolis.
  • Collaboration with Professor Hee Lee in Social Work to understand the role of parent health literacy in children’s mental health.
  • Collaboration with Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings College of Law and researchers in organizational behavior, behavioral economics, sociology, and experimental social psychology from multiple universities to develop and test “bias interrupters” in corporations and organizations. Learn more here.

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