The Stone Soup Group

Dr. Roberts' research team is interested in topics pertaining to children's and parents' perceptions of pediatric and psychological conditions and treatments; treatment adherence issues; program evaluation and mental health service delivery (psychotherapeutic outcomes); the architecture, organization, and content of the ICD classification system (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, WHO); and professional psychology issues: education and training; specialty competencies; mentoring; technology and professional psychology ethics; advocacy.  Specific topics and projects are listed below.

The Roberts Research Team started calling itself the “Stone Soup Group” several years ago to acknowledge the collaborative and supportive process of developing research projects as a team, integrating the talents, energy, and diverse interests of students (graduate and undergraduate) and the supervising faculty member.   Many successfully completed and published articles/chapters illustrate the quality of work that results from adding together contributions by all. Other such projects are currently ongoing.

The reference to "Stone Soup" comes from a folk story which formed the basis of a 1947 book by Marcia Brown.


World Health Organization Projects

Assisting with a series of international investigations aiming to improve the architecture and clinical utility of next edition of the International Classification of Diseases, Mental and Behavioural Disorders chapter. A working list of scholarly publications related to the development of the chapter on Mental and Behavioural Disorders of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11) is available here

Past projects have included:

  • How practicing clinicians think about relationships among disorders: Paired comparison (online) and card sorting (natural taxonomy) methodologies.
  • Assessing the views and experiences of global mental health professionals regarding classification systems for mental and behavioral disorders.

Current projects include:

  • Case-Controlled Field Study for ICD-11 Disruptive Behavior and Dissocial Disorders: In developing the ICD-11, WHO aims to improve the clinical utility of the diagnostic classification of mental and behavioral disorders. Key changes have been proposed for the revision of disruptive behavior and dissocial disorders. For example, subtypes have been developed for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (i.e., with vs. without chronic irritability-anger) and Conduct Dissocial Disorder (i.e., with vs. without limited prosocial emotions). The goal of this study is to empirically evaluate these proposals among a global, multilingual sample of mental health professionals. Through an internet-based survey platform, clinicians are randomly assigned to use either the ICD-11 proposals or an alternative set of diagnostic guidelines, and then assess and diagnose standardized clinical vignettes. By comparing the performance of professionals in different experimental groups, results will inform whether the proposed revisions improve the clinical utility and reliability (and if not, provide direction for further refinement).
  • Building the Global Clinical Practice Network (GCPN), a global community of health and mental health professionals interested in participating in research relating to ICD-11 and global mental health.
  • A series of Internet-Based Field Studies to assess the utility, acceptability, and reliability of proposed changes to ICD-11, with a particular focus on disruptive behavior disorders in children and adolescents.


Peer-Reviewed Publication Outcomes of Dissertations in Psychology

If a dissertation is intended to represent an original contribution to the scientific literature, then it follows that most psychology dissertations could (and arguably should) be published in peer-reviewed journals. But how often does this actually happen? The present study seeks to answer this question. We drew a stratified random sample of 1,000 completed psychology dissertations from the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Next, we conducted systematic literature reviews in PsycINFO and Google Scholar to identify published articles in peer-reviewed journals that were derived from the dissertations in our sample. Preliminary results suggest that the large majority of psychology dissertations (approximately three out of four) are not published in peer-reviewed journals within 7 years following their completion, with significant variation across subfields of psychology. This study will have implications for both training and dissemination in psychological science.


AileyCamp Evaluation

This project is an annual program evaluation of AileyCamp, a six-week summer camp for at-risk youth from Kansas City public middle schools. The project assesses campers' exposure to community violence, stressful life events, risk behaviors, drug awareness, depression, family conflict, social support, emotional intelligence, psychological adjustment, and satisfaction with AileyCamp. Parents' experiences of social support, economic strain, parenting stress, and satisfaction with AileyCamp are also evaluated.


The Role of Health Behaviors and Food Insecurity in Predicting Food Intake in Low-Income Children

Researchers and policy makers have devoted time and resources to understanding the relationship between food intake and public health issues (e.g., etiology of pediatric obesity, access to fresh produce in “food deserts”). Despite this fact, there is still much to be learned with regard to predictors of food intake during childhood. The current project seeks to examine the relationship between specific health behaviors or variables (i.e., sleep, physical activity, sedentary behavior, food security status) and food intake. A multi-group modeling approach will be employed to determine whether differences exist between low-income participants in a state-level program to increase access to healthy food and low -income individuals who do not participate in the program. The study has several important implications, including increasing the field’s understanding of variables impacting food consumption.

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