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A stock image shows a young girl and her mother smiling and hugging. The two are of different ethnic backgrounds.

What is PALS?

Pennsylvania Adoptees Longitudinal Study (PALS) is a developmental study of children adopted from the child welfare system between the ages of 4 and 10. The goal is to identify factors that predict both positive and negative outcomes for these children later in life.

Who can participate?

  • The study is open to children between the ages of 4 and 10 and a primary caregiving parent.
  • Finalization of the adoption must have occurred within 12 months of beginning participation in PALS.
  • The adoptive parent must not be biologically related to the adopted child.
  • International adoptees are not included in this study.
  • The child’s estimated IQ must be above 70. Children diagnosed with an intellectual disability are not included in this study.

What will volunteers do?

The child and parent will be asked to complete interviews, questionnaires and various tasks. Parents may also be asked to complete questionnaires online. The research team from Penn State College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics will collect all data in person at the child’s and parent’s home.

Participation will last for one year, with two home-visits occurring one year apart.

Compensation is provided to eligible participants.

Benefits

There is no direct benefit to participating; however, results may guide future treatment of adopted children and families by helping to identify influential factors in healthy development of adopted children.

For details or to participate

Contact the research coordinator at pals@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 717-531-0003, ext. 321713.

A stock photo shows a young girl sitting between her parents.

Meet the Team

  • Brian Allen, PsyD
    Principal investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Brian Allen

    Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics

    Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry

    Member, Social Science Research Institute

    Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    Member, Center for the Protection of Children

    See full research profile

    Erika Lunkenheimer, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer

    Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

    Member, Social Science Research Institute

    Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    See full research profile

    Hannah Schreier, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Hannah Schreier

    Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Health

    Member, Social Science Research Institute

    Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    See full research profile

    Nancy Dreschel, PhD, DVM
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Nancy Dreschel

    Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Animal Science

    See full research profile

    Jennie Noll, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Jennie Noll

    Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

    Member, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences

    Member, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute

    Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    Member, Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

    See full research profile

    Ming Wang, MS, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Ming Wang

    Associate Professor, Department of Human Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

    Member, Penn State Cancer Institute

    See full research profile

    Brian Allen, PsyD
    Principal investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Brian Allen

    Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics

    Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry

    Member, Social Science Research Institute

    Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    Member, Center for the Protection of Children

    See full research profile

    Erika Lunkenheimer, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer

    Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

    Member, Social Science Research Institute

    Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    See full research profile

    Hannah Schreier, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Hannah Schreier

    Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Health

    Member, Social Science Research Institute

    Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    See full research profile

    Nancy Dreschel, PhD, DVM
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Nancy Dreschel

    Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Animal Science

    See full research profile

    Jennie Noll, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Jennie Noll

    Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

    Member, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences

    Member, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute

    Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

    Member, Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

    See full research profile

    Ming Wang, MS, PhD
    Co-investigator

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Ming Wang

    Associate Professor, Department of Human Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

    Member, Penn State Cancer Institute

    See full research profile

  • Ashley Bucher, MPH

    No photo provided
    Project coordinator

    Michelle Desir, PhD

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Michelle Desir
    Postdoctoral fellow

    Elizabeth Riden, LCSW

    No photo provided
    Clinical specialist

    Amy Slenker, LCSW

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Amy Slenker
    Clinical specialist

    Ryan Hagarman, LCSW

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Ryan Hagarman
    Clinical specialist

    Ashley Bucher, MPH

    No photo provided
    Project coordinator

    Michelle Desir, PhD

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Michelle Desir
    Postdoctoral fellow

    Elizabeth Riden, LCSW

    No photo provided
    Clinical specialist

    Amy Slenker, LCSW

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Amy Slenker
    Clinical specialist

    Ryan Hagarman, LCSW

    A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Ryan Hagarman
    Clinical specialist

Brian Allen, PsyD
Principal investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Brian Allen

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Member, Social Science Research Institute

Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Member, Center for the Protection of Children

See full research profile

Erika Lunkenheimer, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Member, Social Science Research Institute

Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

See full research profile

Hannah Schreier, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Hannah Schreier

Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Health

Member, Social Science Research Institute

Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

See full research profile

Nancy Dreschel, PhD, DVM
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Nancy Dreschel

Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Animal Science

See full research profile

Jennie Noll, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Jennie Noll

Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Member, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences

Member, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Member, Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

See full research profile

Ming Wang, MS, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Ming Wang

Associate Professor, Department of Human Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Member, Penn State Cancer Institute

See full research profile

Brian Allen, PsyD
Principal investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Brian Allen

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Member, Social Science Research Institute

Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Member, Center for the Protection of Children

See full research profile

Erika Lunkenheimer, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Member, Social Science Research Institute

Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

See full research profile

Hannah Schreier, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Hannah Schreier

Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Health

Member, Social Science Research Institute

Member, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

See full research profile

Nancy Dreschel, PhD, DVM
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Nancy Dreschel

Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Animal Science

See full research profile

Jennie Noll, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Jennie Noll

Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Member, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences

Member, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Member, Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

See full research profile

Ming Wang, MS, PhD
Co-investigator

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Ming Wang

Associate Professor, Department of Human Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Member, Penn State Cancer Institute

See full research profile

Ashley Bucher, MPH

No photo provided
Project coordinator

Michelle Desir, PhD

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Michelle Desir
Postdoctoral fellow

Elizabeth Riden, LCSW

No photo provided
Clinical specialist

Amy Slenker, LCSW

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Amy Slenker
Clinical specialist

Ryan Hagarman, LCSW

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Ryan Hagarman
Clinical specialist

Ashley Bucher, MPH

No photo provided
Project coordinator

Michelle Desir, PhD

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Michelle Desir
Postdoctoral fellow

Elizabeth Riden, LCSW

No photo provided
Clinical specialist

Amy Slenker, LCSW

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Amy Slenker
Clinical specialist

Ryan Hagarman, LCSW

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Ryan Hagarman
Clinical specialist

A stock photo shows a boy being carried on his father's back and shoulders. The two are smiling.

Support

This study is supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health.


Learn more

See study details


This research has been approved by the Institutional Review Board, under federal regulations at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine as IRB #13344.