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Susan J. Spieker, PhD
Director, Center on Infant Mental Health & Development
Family and Child Nursing
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-7262
Email Address: email@example.com
Susan Spieker is Professor of Family and Child Nursing and Director of the Center on Infant Mental Health and Development.
Research: Dr. Spieker's research since 1983 involves seven different longitudinal samples. These studies have focused on the effects of early experience, specifically, early caregiving experience, on the socioemotional development of infants and children. Susan has examined the infant-mother attachment relationship, its antecedents and consequences, in every study. Conduct problems, an outcome with theoretical ties to attachment, has been an important focus in two studies. Most of the projects investigate caregiving and child outcomes in high-risk, vulnerable populations, including adolescent mothers, low-income families, and maltreating or substance-using parents. In the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, the focus has been the effects of extensive nonmaternal care in the first year of life on socioemotional and cognitive outcomes in the infancy, preschool, and early school years. Her most recent study is a comparative effectiveness study of methods to promote sensitive parenting and secure attachment to caregivers for infants and toddlers involved in the child welfare system.
Teaching: Most recently, Dr. Spieker has taught graduate students in the Certificate Program in Infant Mental Health. She is a member of supervisory committees of doctoral students from several departments, including Nursing, Social Work, Speech and Hearing, Education, and Psychology.
Practice: Interwoven with her research on caregiving and child development in vulnerable populations has been Dr. Spieker's interest in strategies to prevent developmental delay and adverse socioemotional outcomes in children. In particular, she has studied how the childhood experiences of women involved in an Early Head Start intervention seems to influence the ease or difficulty they have in engaging in, and benefiting from, the intervention. Dr. Spieker plans to become more involved in preventive interventions for families with young children, particularly those designed to promote positive parent-child relationships and secure attachments.
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