University of Maryland School of Social Work
My research program focuses on community-based interventions to support early child development in low-income, high-risk populations, especially through enhancing children’s earliest relationships. I am especially interested in integrating attachment theory, research, and attachment-based interventions with broad-based, publicly funded services for families with young children. For example, a major focus of my recent work has been the development and evaluation of an enhanced model of federal Early Head Start services for low-income families with infants and toddlers. The enhancement consists of a brief but intensive attachment-focused intervention, Dozier’s Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC). In this study (N = 208), randomly assigned intervention mothers showed more supportive caregiving based on objective ratings by blinded observers (Berlin et al., 2018). In response to a series of mild stressors, intervention infants showed better regulated cortisol production, particularly rates of cortisol recovery (i.e., down-regulation) (Berlin et al., 2019). This RCT is part of the federal Buffering Toxic Stress research consortium.