for people ages 3 years and up (full criteria)
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Nastassia Hajal, PhD (ucla)



Millions of U.S. parents have experienced trauma, putting them at risk for maladaptive parenting practices, which then confer vulnerabilities to their children. This study aims to enhance understanding of how parental emotional dysregulation associated with traumatic stress impedes effective parenting. The study employs neurophysiological methods (electroencephalogram; EEG) to address some of the challenges inherent in the study of emotion (particularly in trauma-exposed individuals) and to identify potential biomarkers of traumatic stress and response to intervention.

Official Title

Interrupting the Intergenerational Transmission of Traumatic Stress: Identifying Parental Targets for Intervention by Looking Under the Skin


This research study consists of a randomized controlled trial of 60 families of preschool-aged children in which a parent/caregiver has their own history of childhood interpersonal trauma or loss. Parent/caregiver participants and their preschool-aged child will participate in two phases of assessment (baseline/Time 1 and follow-up/Time 2). Each phase of assessment will include parent/caregiver participant completion of self-report questionnaire measures, a parent-child interaction task (which will be video-recorded for later behavioral coding) and a parent EEG assessment. After the Time 1 (T1) assessments, participants will be randomized to either the FOCUS-Early Childhood Program group (n = 30; experimental group) or the parent education curriculum website group (n = 30; active comparator group). The T2 assessment phase will begin at 3-months post-baseline. The FOCUS-EC Program is an 8-week program, so families should have completed the program by 3 months post-baseline. In the event that a family that was randomized to the FOCUS-EC Program group has not completed the program by the 3-month mark, the T2 assessment will be initiated once the program has been completed (up to 6 months post-baseline).


Stress, Psychological Stress Disorders, Traumatic Emotion Regulation Behavior, Child Emotional Stress Trauma, Psychological Anxiety Depression Coping Skills Parent-Child Relations Parenting Resilience Families Parents Children Preschooler Intervention Psychological Trauma Families OverComing Under Stress (FOCUS) for Early Childhood (FOCUS-EC) Parenting Education Website Families Over-Coming Under Stress-Early Childhood Program (FOCUS-EC)


You can join if…

Open to people ages 3 years and up

  • Parent/caregiver (must be legal guardian) of a 3- to 6-year-old child
  • Child must cohabitate with the parent/caregiver
  • Parent/caregiver participant must have experienced some form of interpersonal trauma during their own childhood (e.g., abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence)
  • Parent/caregiver must be English-speaking
  • Parent/caregiver must have access to internet and Webcam

You CAN'T join if...

  • Does not meet inclusion criteria
  • Parent/legal guardian does not want the child to participate in the study
  • Significant neurological disorder (included in pre-screening protocol)
  • Active psychosis/mania (as assessed by staff)
  • Significant child developmental delays (as assessed by staff)

Families excluded from the study will be provided with a list of online and/or community resources.


  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) accepting new patients
    Los Angeles California 90095 United States

Lead Scientist at University of California Health

  • Nastassia Hajal, PhD (ucla)
    HS Assistant Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Medicine. Authored (or co-authored) 14 research publications


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, Los Angeles
Study Type
Expecting 60 study participants
Last Updated