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Dr. Esther Calzada: Getting to the Root of Mental Health Disorders

Project MALES

calzada_estherDr. Esther Calzada, associate professor in the School of Social Work, specializes in early childhood development with a particular focus on behavioral problems among children in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Read on to learn more about her interest in social work and how she’s contributing to an understudied field of research.

The parent principle…In a recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, Calzada found that authoritarian parenting (defined as strict, controlling, and not responsive to the child’s feelings) was correlated with depression in young Mexican American and Dominican American children ages 4 to 6.

Filling the racial gap in mental health research…My program of research was shaped early in graduate school when I was trained in the treatment of disruptive behavior disorders and I realized that little was known about the mental health trajectories of Latino and other immigrant children.

Getting to the root of the problem…I began to explore risk and protective factors related to mental health disorders, focusing primarily on the role of parents in shaping children’s development.  One of my goals is to disseminate effective programs that empower and honor parents of all cultures in raising healthy and successful children.