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David Cole

Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology and Human Development

Professor Cole's research interests center around development psychopathology in general and childhood depression in particular. Working from the premise that the origins and perpetuation of mental illness have large interpersonal components, he studies the relation between childhood depression and patterns of peer relations, parent-child interactions, and competency-based feedback from significant others. He suggests that cognitive models of depression must take into consideration the level of the child's cognitive development. His studies imply that adult models of depression need substantial modification when applied to children. 

His most recent research focuses on online platforms that serve as a novel type of social niche – one that conveys not only risks (e.g., cybervictimization) but also benefits (e.g., online social support), in a manner analogous to in-person social relationships. Recent studies have examined the ways that online social relationships are similar to and different from in-person peer relationships. Of particular interest is whether healthy online relationships can offset the negative mental health effects of in-person ostracism and peer victimization.

Professor Cole is also interested in research methods and multivariate statistics.  In particular, he helps to develop new statistical and research methodologies for clinical, developmental, and psychopathology research, validating clinical assessment instruments, and examining change in non-experimental research designs.