Participate in Research

The Pregnant Moms' Empowerment Program 

Who Participates?

Women are eligible to participate if they: 1) Are currently pregnant (between 10-30 weeks); 2) Are 16 years of age or older; 3) Have experienced conflict with a partner in the past 12 months; AND 4) Are fluent in English.

What's Involved

Participants complete 4 interviews over the course of their time in the study, two during pregnancy and 2 postpartum (3.5 months and 1-year). Each interview lasts between 1.5 and 3.5 hours. All of the women in the study will also participate in a 5 session support group program. Participants receive $30-$50 in compensation for each completed study interview, and women attending group sessions receive an infant care item plus 2 BABE Store coupons at each session. Transportation and childcare are provided at no cost.

Research Overview

This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a group therapy program for pregnant women who have recently experienced conflict with a partner, including psychological, sexual and physical forms of abuse.

Intimate partner violence (IPV), including threats or acts of physical, sexual, or psychological violence against a partner, occurs at shockingly high rates. The lifetime prevalence of IPV victimization for women in the US is 35%, with the highest risk during pregnancy. IPV during pregnancy is not only associated with decrements in maternal functioning, but children born to IPV-exposed women are more likely to have poor birth outcomes and problems in early attachment and adjustment. Despite the serious threats IPV poses to both mother and infant, few effective interventions for this population exist. The dearth of programs for pregnant women has resulted in high risk at the earliest stages of infant development – a risk that is imminently preventable. This study examines the effectiveness of a group therapy program for pregnant women. The program has demonstrated promising effects in a pilot study with 136 women in South Bend, IN and Memphis, TN. This project continues to be a part of a multi-site collaboration with the University of Memphis. Across sites, the current study will include 230 pregnant women (16 years +) who have been exposed to intimate partner violence in the past year. Women participating in the study are assigned to either an intervention or social support groups and participate in interviews at baseline, post-intervention, and at 3-months and 1-year postpartum. We hypothesize that participation in the program will result in:
• Improvements in mothers’ mental health (PTSD; depression)
• Lower maternal revictimization
• Improvement in parenting sensitivity
• Better infant development at three months and one year of age

Contact Information:

Phone - 574-383-9402

Email - pmepstudy@gmail.com

Contact - Becki Fulmer, Program Manager


Memory, Aging & Cognition Lab

The Memory, Aging & Cognition Lab at the University of Notre Dame is recruiting adults between the ages of 18 and 80 to take part in research on memory and the brain. These studies involve computer tasks that consist of rating and making judgments about words, images, or sounds. While completing some or all the computer tasks, your brain activity may be recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). EEG can identify the neural correlates of different aspects of our cognition and involves preparation of electrodes on your scalp to record electrical brain activity. Preparing the EEG sensors can take upwards of one hour, which is included in the experiment duration. Some studies also involve an “eye tracking” procedure while completing these tasks. Eye-tracking involves a camera that tracks your eye movements and pupil dilation. Your participation will help scientists understand the basic processes involved in healthy memory as well as the causes of memory impairments associated with age, injury, and disease.

Dates and times for participating are flexible, and participants will be compensated at the rate of $15/hour for their time. To participate, you must have acquired English before the age of 5 and must be right-handed. If you are interested or have any questions, please give us a call at 574-634-0264 or email at koenlab@nd.edu.

Shared Book Reading Study

This spring and summer, we are inviting preschool children (ages 2.5-4) along with a parent/guardian to participate in a study of children's book reading. If you live in the South Bend area, then you are invited to participate! Participating children will first complete a few activities with one of our team members; then, they will read two children's books with their parent/guardian. The session will take less than an hour.  At the end of the session, participants will choose a children’s book to take home with them, and they will receive a small payment to cover the costs associated with participation in the study (i.e., time and travel to the lab). We provide free on-campus parking and babysitting for siblings while you participate. If you and your child would like to participate, please email us at clad@nd.edu to schedule a time.

The Notre Dame Cancer Transitions Project

The Notre Dame Cancer Transitions Project is looking for 30 people (18 or older) with a diagnosis of cancer, who are close to completing medical treatments or who have recently completed medical treatments. The project focuses on the transition off of active treatment for cancer. Being on maintenance medications or medications for other medical conditions would not disqualify you from participating. We are interested in your experience of transitioning from being on active treatment to being a cancer survivor. You will be asked to complete a survey and participate in an interview. If you are interested in participating, please email Tom Merluzzi at tmerluzz@nd.edu  or call 574-631-5623 and leave a message.Thomas Merluzzi is the primary investigator of the Notre Dame Cancer Transitions Project and the Director of the Laboratory for Psychooncology Research


The Notre Dame Families and Babies Study

The Notre Dame Families and Babies Study (ND-FABS) is a longitudinal preventive-intervention study funded by the National Institute of Health.  It provides brief educational programs for families that have recently welcomed a new baby.  Families who participate will have opportunities to learn about communication between parents and sensitivity toward infants, and how those things can impact the relationships between fathers and mothers and their infant child. The primary goal of this study is to determine how best to support infants’ socioemotional development by promoting constructive and sensitive interactions in families.

The Notre Dame Family and Babies Study is actively recruiting participants in South Bend and Fort Wayne, IN and the surrounding areas.  Eligible participants are married or cohabiting parents of a child who is younger than 7 months old.  Participating families will be asked to visit one of our centers (in South Bend or Fort Wayne) four times over the course of the year, and would receive program information, including weekly phone calls and/or home visits, over the course of eight weeks. Families could earn up to $230 for their participation over the course of one year and free childcare is provided during each visit.

To participate in South Bend, please call 574-631-0950 or email us at ndfabs@nd.edu for more information.

To participate in Fort Wayne, please call 574-631-0956 or email us at ndfabsfw@nd.edu for more information.

The Notre Dame SPARC Project: Supporting Parent-Adolescent Relationships and Communication

The Notre Dame SPARC Project is a program designed to support effective communication and strengthen relationships in families that include a child with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD).  In particular, the SPARC project is geared toward supporting parents and typically developing adolescent siblings of individuals with IDD by promoting effective communication and conflict resolution between couples and also between parents and their typically developing children.  The goal of the study is to evaluate how best to support parents and typically developing siblings of individuals with IDD by improving communication and strengthening family relationships.

The Notre Dame SPARC Project is actively recruiting participants in South Bend and Fort Wayne, IN and the surrounding areas.  Eligible participants are families that include fathers and mothers who are married or living together in the same home with a typically developing child between the ages of 10 and 18 years old, and a child of any age who has been diagnosed with any type of intellectual or developmental disability.  Participating families will be invited to visit one of our centers (in South Bend or Fort Wayne) several times over the course of one year.  Families could earn up to $310 for their participation over the course of one year, and free childcare is provided at all visits by team members who are trained to work with individuals with IDD.

Interested families can call Jessica at 574-631-6009 or email us at ndsparc@nd.edu (for South Bend) and sparcfw@nd.edu (for Fort Wayne) for more information.