Ronald Seifer, PhD

Ronald Seifer, PhD, has research interests in the area of developmental psychopathology. He has conducted research on children at risk for psychopathology (owing to parental mental illness) and children exposed to substances of abuse during the prenatal period. Processes studied include children's emotions, relationship formation, temperament and family interaction. The focus of this work is on the early years of life. More recently, work in program evaluation and public health in these populations have been a focus of research.



United States


Selected Research Projects

RI Project LAUNCH Evaluation  
Rhode Island Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health) is an implementation of mental health consultation in primary care medical settings and child care settings serving children and families in poverty.

Evaluation of this Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-funded project will examine the degree to which these services are delivered as intended, are helpful to children, and can be sustained through systems change beyond the period of federal funding. This project is a partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Evaluation of Nurse Family Partnership and Rhode Island Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs. 
The Nurse Family Partnership program is designed for young mothers, under 24 years of age, having a first child in impoverished conditions. This is a well-studied prevention program, demonstrated to have long-lasting positive effects for children and families. It involves an intensive schedule of home visits by specially trained nurses, beginning prenatally and extending through the first two years of life. This evaluation will examine the effectiveness of the first implementation of this program in Rhode Island. As part of the Affordable Care Act, Rhode Island is also implementing Healthy Families America and Parents as Teachers, both home visiting programs. These federally funded projects are in partnership with Children's Friend and Service and RI Department of Health.

Social-emotional Competence in Children at Risk for Psychopathology Because of Parental Illness.  
Completed 10-year outcomes in cohort studied since 1 year of age.

Parent-child Goodness of Fit in the Context of Maternal Psychopathology and Contextual Risk Factors. 
Examines social emotional competence through 2-1/2 years of age.

Emotion Processing and Social Competence in Head Start Children
Examines how young children process emotion in challenging situations, along with physiologic markers thought to be indicative of emotional response. 

Biomarkers of Risk and Resilience in Maltreated Children
Examines recently maltreated children, with an emphasis on identifying physiologic and genetic mechanisms that may be indicative of more adaptive response to this serious contextual stressor.