Ph.D. in Education, 2016
School of Education
October 1, 2013
Research Focuses on how Parental Perceptions Affect Parent-Child Interactions and Children’s Development
Joyce Lin is a third-year Ph.D. student in the School of Education, specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development (LCD). Her research has focused on how parental perceptions affect parent-child interactions and children’s development. Her research interests include child socio-emotional development, parenting, and contextual influences on children’s development and parenting, and her work mainly focuses on parents of infants.
Joyce’s interest in research began while attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she majored in sociology and minored in education studies. At UCLA, Joyce worked as an undergraduate student researcher in the Kasari Lab in the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) where she participated in projects targeting early identifiers and diagnoses of autism and promoting communication skills in the context of parent-child play interactions in toddlers at risk for autism.
At UC Irvine, Joyce had the opportunity to work with her current advisor, Dr. Stephanie M. Reich, on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)-funded Baby Books Project, which assessed the effectiveness of embedding educational information into baby books as a low-cost method of promoting maternal and child health for low-income minority populations. For the Baby Books Project, she worked on a qualitative literature synthesis on the Parenting Stress Index and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, which was used for several manuscripts.
After graduating from UCLA, Joyce went immediately into her Ph.D. studies at UCI under Professor Reich. For her first year project, she returned to the Baby Books data and explored whether mothers’ sense of efficacy for reading to their toddler was associated with perceived barriers to reading.
My findings showed that women with higher reading self-efficacy perceived fewer barriers to reading. Although reading self-efficacy and perceived barriers were negatively related for all barriers, reading self-efficacy had the biggest impact on child-centered barriers, specifically whether mothers viewed their child as being too squirmy/restless to be read to. This showed that reading self-efficacy may buffer against mother-centered and child-centered barriers to reading.
For her second year research paper, Joyce continued using the Baby Books data, and examined the relationships between maternal perceptions of neighborhood physical and social disorder and the home environments mothers provide for their infant’s and the responsiveness mothers display towards their infants. She found that greater perceptions of neighborhood disorder, particularly perceptions of social disorder, are associated with lower quality home environments and less maternal-child responsiveness. The findings from this study show that it is important to consider parental perceptions of different environmental contexts, as they seem to play a role on the home environments of children.
In addition to these projects, Joyce also worked on a Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)-funded study that examined why low-income children enrolled in Head Start centers are not receiving adequate dental care, even though they receive Medicaid and have access to on-site dental care. Following up on her work on potential barriers to low- income minority parents’ beneficial parenting practices, she reviewed research on the various psychosocial and structural barriers that low-income parents perceive in providing preventative dental care for their children. She also participated in the design of focus groups with parents of children in Head Start and helped facilitate these focus groups with caregivers comprised of primarily low-income minority mothers. The goals of this study were to uncover areas to target for a future intervention, in order to bring adequate dental care to the underserved.
Joyce is also active in research-focused leadership activities within the School of Education. She has assisted undergraduate students working on their honors theses and helped them create a model that looks at how new mothers’ uplifts and hassles during pregnancy affect their postnatal nutrition and feeding behaviors, which in turn affects their children’s health outcomes over the first 18 months.
These collaborations with undergraduates are a great opportunity for me to mentor students and refine my leadership skills, as well as diversify my research experiences in the area of parenting and child development. Since many of these students are pre-med, their interests in the physical sciences help broaden my thinking about child development. They challenge me to think about factors that influence the physical development of low-socioeconomic status children, which may affect their socioemotional development and schooling outcomes later on.
During the last academic year she also served as the lab manager for the Socioemotional Development Lab (SEDL), a research group that functions as a think-tank and social support network for graduate students and faculty.
Outside of research, Joyce enjoys trying new foods and spending time with her family. She stays active by doing yoga, taking dance classes, and trying out classes at the Anteater Recreation Center. She relaxes by watching crime shows and Netflix dramas. This month she will start volunteering to read to children at a local library.