top of page

The Regulating Emotions and Stress in Teens Lab

The REST Lab is directed by Dr. Alex Bettis, PhD. Our research seeks to understand the role of emotion regulation and stress in teen mental health, with a focus on youth suicide prevention.

Research Projects

Our research focuses on understanding and improving adolescent mental health and suicide prevention. This work utilizes multi-method approaches, including longitudinal surveys, ecological momentary assessment, lab-based tasks, and digital health interventions to answer challenging questions about mental health in youth and families. 

Emotion Regulation Flexibility and Suicide Risk in Teens

The ability to cope with stress and manage difficult emotions is central to mental health and well-being. This study aims to better understand how teens use emotion regulation skills during periods of high clinical risk for suicide and self-harm. Funded by the NIMH, we are enrolling teens admitted to the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital with recent suicidality to complete this 3-month study. Using ecological momentary assessments, clinical interviews, surveys, and lab-based tasks, we hope to better characterize the role of emotion regulation in risk for youth suicide. 

Developing a Digital Health Intervention for Parents of High-Risk Teens

We know parents and caregivers need support when their child is in crisis. Yet, we have limited evidence-based resources to support parents/caregivers during periods of high clinical risk. In this NIMH-funded study, we are developing and testing a fully automated text-messaging program for parents after their child's emergency department visit for a psychiatric emergency. We hope to equip parents with psychoeducation and skills to manage their own emotions and support their child in the aftermath of a mental health crisis.

Understanding Suicide-Related Disclosures in Families

Clinical providers instruct youth to talk to a trusted adult if they experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm. However, we know that teens are not always comfortable talking with parents or other adults about these thoughts and behaviors. In collaboration with Dr. Kathryn Fox and Dr. Taylor Burke, we are conducting a series of studies with teens and parents to better understand suicide and self-harm related disclosures. We hope to develop tools to support families in having these difficult conversations to reduce youth suicide risk and improve parent-child communication.

Meet the Team

Recognizing and Enhancing Community Health (REACH) Youth Advisory Board

I co-founded and co-lead the REACH Youth Advisory Board, a board comprised of teens with lived experiences of depression, suicide, and/or self-harm who are interested in clinical research. The REACH Board meets monthly to discuss clinical research ideas, studies, results, and ideas for research dissemination, with the ultimate goal of uplifting the voices of teens with lived experience and engaging them in our research. Read more about the REACH Board and our leadership team here.

We also co-authored an Editorial for the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psycopathology with the REACH Youth Advisory Board members discussing key challenges and potential strategies to engage youth in clinical science.


No Collections Here

Sort your projects into collections. Click on "Manage Collections" to get started

bottom of page