Tara Chaplin

Tara Chaplin

Tara Chaplin

Associate Professor

Clinical Psychology: Emotion regulation and the development of psychopathology and substance use in adolescence; Parent-focused interventions; Bio-psycho-social models of emotion

Dr. Tara Chaplin is an Associate Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. She received a Ph.D. in Child-Clinical psychology in 2003 from Penn State University. She completed post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania from 2003-2006. She was an Associate Research Scientist and Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine from 2006-2013, before joining the Clinical Psychology Faculty at George Mason University in 2013. She is also a licensed clinical psychologist.

Dr. Chaplin’s research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research. Her papers have appeared in Psychological Bulletin, Development and Psychopathology, Journal of Adolescent Health, and other journals.

Dr. Chaplin will be taking a new PhD student this year (to start in Fall 2024). 

Current Research

Dr. Chaplin’s research interests are in the role of emotional arousal and emotion regulation and sex differences in the development of risk behaviors (such as substance use) and of psychopathology (such as depression, anxiety, and conduct problems) during adolescence. She is interested in the role of the family context and parenting in shaping adolescents’ emotional development and their development of psychopathology. Her research also focuses on developing family-focused interventions to improve emotional functioning and prevent risk behaviors and psychopathology in adolescents. Dr. Chaplin’s research incorporates multiple bio-behavioral methods, including self-reports of emotional experience, observational measures, cardiovascular measures such as heart rate variability, neuroendocrine measures such as HPA Axis, and fMRI.

Related to these interests, Dr. Chaplin has three current studies:

1. A current large NIH-funded study examining parent-adolescent interactions, adolescent emotion-related physiology and brain function, and the development of substance use and psychopathology symptoms from early to middle adolescence.

2. An NIH-funded study that tested effects of a mindfulness intervention for highly stressed parents in reducing parent stress, improving parenting, and preventing adolescent risk behaviors and psychopathology symptoms.

3. A pilot study (with doctoral student Claire Niehaus) examining parenting-related neurobiology, parenting behavior, and adolescent emotional and behavioral outcomes in Latina mothers of adolescents.

Selected Publications

(underline indicates student under my supervision)

Chaplin, T. M., Mauro, K. L., & Niehaus, C. E. (2021). Effects of parenting environment on child and adolescent brain function. In Sinha & Klaus (Eds) Neuroscience of Social Stress. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, 54, 341-372.

Chaplin, T.M., Poon, J. A., Thompson, J. C., Hansen, A., Dziura, S. L., Turpyn, C. C., Neihaus, C. E., Sinha, R., Chassin, L, & Ansell, E. B. (2019). Sex-differentiated associations among negative parenting, emotion-related brain function, and adolescent substance use and psychopathology symptoms. Social Development, 28, 637-656.

Chaplin, T. M., Turpyn, C. C., Fischer, S., Martelli, A. M., Ross, C. E., Leichtweis, R. N., Miller, A. B., & Sinha, R. (2018). Parenting-focused mindfulness intervention reduces stress and improves parenting in highly-stressed mothers of adolescents. Mindfulness, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-1026-9

Chaplin, T. M., Visconti, K. J., Molfese, P., Susman, E., Klein, L. C., Sinha, R., & Mayes, L. C. (2015). Prenatal cocaine exposure differentially affects stress responses in girls and boys: associations with future substance use. Development and Psychopathology, 27,163-180.

Chaplin, T. M. & Aldao, A. (2013). Gender differences in emotion expression in children: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 735-765.

Chaplin, T.M., Sinha, R., Simmons, J., Healy, S., Mayes, L.C., Hommer, R. E., & Crowley, M. J. (2012). Parent-adolescent conflict interactions and adolescent alcohol use. Addictive Behaviors, 37, 605-612. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.01.004.

Chaplin, T. M. & Cole, P. M. (2005). The role of emotion regulation in the development of psychopathology. In B. L. Hankin, & J. R. Z. Abela (Eds.), Development of psychopathology: A vulnerability-stress perspective (pp. 49-74). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Grants and Fellowships

Selected Current Grants:

1. 2-R01 DA033431-06A1   Chaplin (PI), Thompson (co-PI)
Dates: 08/01/18-04/30/2023
Agency: NIH/NIDA
Total Funding: $2,578,998
Title: Parent-Adolescent Interactions, Gender, and Substance Use: Brain Mechanisms

2. MRI Pilot Award              Chaplin (PI)
Dates: 03/17/2019-06/30/2020
Agency: George Mason University
Total Funding: $16,000
Title: Neural Correlates of Parenting and Treatment Outcomes in Latina Parents

3. Center for Advanced Study Award Sikdar (PI)
Dates: 02/01/2018-01/31/2023
Agency: George Mason University
Title: Center for Adaptive Systems for Brain-Body Interactions (CASBBI)
Role: Core Team Member

3. R01DK117651 Sinha (PI)/Silverman (co-PI)
Dates: 08/01/18 – 06/30/2023
Title: Preventing Childhood Obesity through a Mindfulness-based Parent Stress Intervention
Role: Consultant

Selected Completed Grants:

1. R01DA033431 Chaplin (PI)
Dates: 09/15/12- 07/30/18 (with NCE)
Agency: NIH/NIDA
Total Funding: $1,872,094
Title: Parent-Adolescent Interactions and Substance Abuse Risk: Gender Differences

2. F31DA041790 Turpyn (PI)
Dates: 08/01/16-07/31/18
Agency: NIH/NIDA
Title: Neural Mechanisms of a Parent-Focused Mindfulness Intervention to Prevent Adolescent Substance Use
Role: Sponsor

3. R34DA034823 Chaplin (PI)
Dates: 04/01/13-02/29/17 (with NCE)
Agency: NIH/NIDA
Total Funding: $749,000
Title: Reducing Stress with Parenting-Focused Mindfulness to Prevent Youth Substance Use

4. K01DA024759 Chaplin (PI)
Dates: 05/01/08-07/30/13
Agency: NIH/NIDA
Funding: $824,149 (direct costs)
Title: Gender, Emotional Arousal, and Risk for Adolescent Substance Abuse

Courses Taught

PSYC 861: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Youth (Graduate)

PSYC 881: Advanced Practicum in Clinical Psychology (Graduate)

PSYC 648: Developmental Psychopathology (Graduate)

PSYC 314: Adolescent Development (Undergraduate)


2003    Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Penn State, University Park, PA

1997    B.A., Psychology (Minor: Biology), University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Dissertations Supervised

Kelsey Mauro, Examining the Role of Parent Stress in Adolescent Emotional Development and Parent-Focused Interventions (2024)

Stefanie Goncalves, An Examination of Affect-related Brain Activity and Substance Use Among Adolescents (2022)

Claire Niehaus, Towards a Biological Understanding of Parenting Across Contexts (2021)

Amy S. Hansen, Understanding Adolescent Weight: The Role of Parenting Styles and Emotion Regulation (2019)

Jennifer Poon, Task-based and Resting State Functional Connectivity Patterns: Links to Adolescent Emotion Regulation & Psychopathology (2018)

Caitlin Turpyn, Parenting Adolescents: A Neurobiological Framework for Parent-focused Intervention (2018)