Child Health and Illness Laboratory (CHILL Lab)

Child Health and Illness Laboratory (CHILL Lab)

CHILL Lab logoWelcome to the Child Health and Illness Laboratory (CHILL). The lab, directed by Dr. Kristoffer Berlin, is a part of the Child and Family Research Area and the Clinical Psychology program. Current or prospective graduate students should feel free to contact Dr. Berlin directly. Undergraduate students interested in gaining research experience in the CHILL Lab should complete this Research Assistant Information Sheet and email it to Dr. Berlin at ksberlin@memphis.edu

Research Assistant Information Sheet

Research Focus

The Child Health and Illness Lab conducts research spanning the fields of pediatric psychology, child-clinical, clinical health psychology, and quantitative psychology. Most broadly, this research focuses on cultural, family, and behavioral factors that promote health and reduce morbidity in childhood chronic illness. More specifically, this research hopes to:

  • Identify the influence of cultural and family factors on children's weight, diet, and mealtime behavior, with a particular focus on obesity in early childhood.
  • Examine models of stress and adaptation to promote quality of life and regimen adherence among youth with Type 1 diabetes and their families
  • Integrate quantitative and behavioral methodologies to inform, develop, and refine clinical health interventions and assessment to reduce and eliminate health disparities.


 Click below to expand topic.

 >Current Projects


The PRYDE study (Predicting Resiliency in Youth with Type 1 DiabEtes) is a collaboration with LeBonheur Children's Hospital Diabetes Clinic. This on-going longitudinal study began in the spring of 2013, with the purpose of identifying longitudinal predictors of adherence and glycemic control based on diabetes-specific social information processing and acceptance-based coping models that may decrease health disparities.

Predictors of Accelerated Weight Gain in Urban Infants and Toddlers

In collaboration with the Urban Child Institute's CANDLE study, we are currently engaged in a project titled Predictors of Accelerated Weight Gain in Urban Infants and Toddlers. We are utilizing the data collected in the CANDLE study to determine the influence of race, income, child gender, and maternal factors on urban children's birth adiposity and change in adiposity over the course of the study. In addition, we are investigating whether differential weight trajectories exist among urban infants and toddlers and predictors of those trajectories.

Growth and Resilience, In-the-midst of Type 1 diabetes (GRIT)

Type-1 diabetes (T1D) in childhood is a prevalent and costly disorder associated with substantial morbidity that differentially impacts low-income and minority youth and their families. Given the increased risk for life-threatening consequences of suboptimal glycemic control and evidence of only modest treatment efficacy in general, the objective of this study is to develop a culturally tailored acceptance-based behavioral intervention to improve glycemic control and quality of life among low income adolescents with Type-1 diabetes and their families.

Youth and Maternal Mealtime Interaction Study (YuMMi Study)

The Youth and Maternal Mealtime Interactions Study will explore the reciprocal dyadic interactions that influence eating, mealtime behavior, and children’s weight and growth. YuMMI is a collaboration between the University of Memphis and the University of Michigan that will code both laboratory and home-based family mealtime interactions.

 >Lab Members
Kristoffer S. Berlin, Ph.D.

Kris Berlin
Dr. Berlin is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis and the Director of the CHILL Lab. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and completed his internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University. He has broad research interests in the fields of pediatric psychology, child clinical psychology, and quantitative psychology. His program of research focuses on cultural, family, and behavioral factors that promote health and reduce morbidity and health disparities in childhood chronic illness. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist with health service provider designation in the state of Tennessee.
Gabrielle Banks, M.S.

Gabrielle Banks
Gabrielle is a sixth-year student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at the University of Memphis. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her broad research interests include social and emotional influences on children coping with pediatric chronic illness.
Tiffany Rybak, M.S.

Tiffany Rybak
Tiffany is a fifth year in the clinical PhD program. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Ohio University. Her current research seeks to understand what contributes to children's risk for obesity early on in life (i.e. from infancy – early childhood). Specifically, Tiffany is interested in how a variety of factors related to culture, family, and individual behaviors either promote health growth or increase risk for adiposity. She has witnessed value in taking a person-centered analytic approach when examining a complex issue, such as pediatric obesity. Implementing advanced quantitative methodologies in this field of research will inform and strengthen out intervention and prevention programs that are culturally and individually tailored.
Rachel Ankney, M.S.

Rachel Ankney
Rachel is a sixth-year student in the Experimental Psychology doctoral program focusing on quantitative methodology. Her research focuses on conducting simulation studies to identify quantitative best practices, and she is currently investigating optimal approaches to exploratory factor analysis with ordinal data. She is also interested in a variety of statistical techniques including factor analysis, latent growth curve modeling, and mixture modeling. In addition to pursuing simulation studies, Rachel has also pursued her interest in understanding quantitative techniques through collaborative work with clinical researchers, especially with the CHILL lab.
Kimberly Klages, M.S.

Kimberly Klages
Kim is a fifth-year student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and biology from Loyola University Chicago. Her current research interests include health-related quality of life and psychological adjustment in youth with chronic health conditions. Kim is a native Chicagoan and loves spending her time watching television and hanging with her pets Tucker and Frannie.
Katherine Semenkovich, B.A.

Katherine Semenkovich
Katherine is a third-year student in the Clinical Psychology program. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she majored in psychology and minored in public health. Prior to joining the Child Health and Illness lab, she worked at the Washington University Medical School and St. Louis Children’s Hospital on projects assessing neurodevelopment in youth and adults with diabetes. She is interested in identifying the psychosocial factors contributing to hospitalizations of youth with type 1 diabetes and examining biological markers of stress in children with diabetes.
Mary Keenan, B.A.

Mary Keenan
Mary is a second-year student in the Clinical Psychology program. She moved to Memphis after growing up in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. During her time as a researcher and clinician, Mary hopes to utilize technology to better understand and improve psychosocial aspects of living with chronic illnesses including diabetes. Mary enjoys spending time with her kitten Misty, playing board games and enjoying the fun that Memphis has to offer.
Nick Wood, Undergraduate

Nick Wood
Nick Wood is a junior honors psychology major with a child development minor. Nick is hoping to continue his education in graduate school and focus his research primarily on children with type-1 diabetes. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his nephew and loves dogs, pizza, and playing ice hockey.
Ashton Terry, Undergraduate

Ashton Terry
Ashton Terry is a junior working on her Psychology major and Child Development minor. She is part of both the Helen Hardin’s Honors Program and the Psychology Honors Program. She was recently accepted into the Psi Chi Honors Society. She is also a Peer Advisor in the Psychology department on campus and is beginning an Internship with Harwood. Ashton plans to go to graduate school for School Psychology and continue to study and research how Type-1 Diabetes affects the lives of children. In her free time, Ashton plays video games and listens to music and loves animals and spending time with her family.
Original Peer–reviewed Publications (*Student/Trainee Author)

Berlin, K. S., Kamody*, R. C., Thurston, I. B., Banks*, G. G., Rybak*, T. M., & Ferry, R. J. (in press). Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviors, and Nutritional Risk Profiles and Relations to Body Mass Index, Obesity, and Overweight in Eighth Grade. Behavioral Medicine.

Silverman, A. H., Berlin, K. S., Magie, S., DiLorenzo, Kamody*, R. C., Nurko, S., Ponnambalam, Gorges, C., Sanghavi, & Sood, M. R. (in press). Development of an instrument to measure quality of life in children with chronic constipation and soiling. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Lang*, K. P., Veazey-Morris, K., Berlin, K. S., & Andrasik, F. A. (in press). Factors affecting health care utilization in OEF/OIF veterans: The impact of PTSD and pain. Military Medicine.

Buscemi*, J., Murphy, J. G., Berlin, K. S., & Raynor, H. A. (in press). A behavioral economic analysis of changes in food-related and food-free reinforcement during weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. doi:10.1037/a0036376

Berlin, K. S., Kamody*, R. C., Banks*, G. G., Davies, W. H., & Silverman, A. H. (in press). Empirically derived parental feeding styles for young children and their relations to weight, mealtime behaviors, and childhood behavior problems: A latent profile analysis. Children’s Health Care. doi:10.1080/02739615.2014.891207

Berlin, K. S., Hains, A. A., Kamody*, R. C., Kichler, J. C., & Davies, W. H. (in press). Differentiating peer and friend social information-processing effects on stress and glycemic control among youth with type 1 diabetes. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Kamody*, R. C., Berlin, K. S., Hains, A. A., Kichler, J. C., Davies, W. H., Diaz-Thomas, A. M., & Ferry, R. jr. (2014). Assessing measurement invariance of the Diabetes Stress Questionnaire in youth with type 1 diabetes. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39, 1138-1148.

Katz, L. & Berlin, K. S. (2014). Psychological stress in childhood and the development of myopia. Optometry & Visual Performance, 2, 289-296.

Karazsia, B. T. & Berlin, K. S. (2014). Adding practical tools to our toolbox: Introduction to the special issue on quantitative methodologies. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39, 121-123. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu001

Karazsia, B. T., Berlin, K. S., Armstrong*, B., Janicke, D., & Darling*, K. W. (2014). Integrating mediation and moderation to advance theory development and testing. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39, 163-173. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jst080

Jelalian, E., Foster, G., D. Sato, A. F., Berlin, K. S., McDermott, C., & Sundal, D. (2014). Treatment adherence and facilitator characteristics in a community based pediatric weight control intervention. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11:17. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-17

Berlin, K. S., Williams, N. A., & Parra, G. R. (2014). An introduction to latent variable mixture modeling (part 1): Cross sectional latent class and latent profile analyses. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39, 174-187. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jst084

Berlin, K. S., Parra, G. R., & Williams, N. A. (2014). An Introduction to latent variable mixture modeling (part 2): Longitudinal latent class growth and growth mixture models. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39, 188-203. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jst085

Berlin, K. S. (2014). Routh early career award: From pediatric ninjutsu to pediatric psychology. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39, 265-270. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jst139

Silverman, A. H., Noel, R., Kirby, M., Clifford, L. M., Berlin, K. S., & Rudolph, C. D. (2013). Nutritional and psychosocial outcomes of gastrostomy tube-dependent children completing an intensive inpatient behavioral treatment program. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 57, 668-672. doi:10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182a027a3

Medrano*, G. R., Berlin, K. S., & Davies, W. H. (2013). Assessing the reliability and validity of the PedsQL Family Impact Module in a community sample. Quality of Life Research, 22, 2899-2907. doi:10.1007/s11136-013-0422-9

Berlin, K. S., Hamel-Lambert, J., & DeLameter, C. D. (2013). Obesity and overweight status health disparities among low-income rural Appalachian preschool children. Children Health Care, 42(1), 15-26. doi: 10.1080/02739615.2013.753812

Brady*, C. E., Evans, S. W., Berlin, K. S., Bunford*, N. & Kern, L. (2012). Evaluating school impairment with adolescents: A psychometric evaluation of the classroom performance survey. School Psychology Review, 41, 429-446.

Berlin, K. S., Rabideau*, E. M., & Hains, A. A. (2012). Empirically derived patterns of perceived stress among youth with type 1 diabetes and relationships to metabolic control. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37. 990-998. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jss080

Przeworski, A., Newman, M. G., Pincus, A. L., Kasoff, M. B., Yamasaki, A. S., Castonguay, L. G., & Berlin, K. S. (2011). Interpersonal pathoplasticity in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120, 286-298. doi:10.1037/a0023334

Heckman, B. D., Berlin, K. S., Watakakosol*, R., & St. Pierre*, V. (2011). Cross-ethnic validity and invariance analyses of psychosocial headache measures in Caucasian and African American headache patients. Cephalalgia, 31, 222-234. doi:10.1177/0333102410372429

Heckman, B. D., Berlin, K. S., Heckman, T. G., & Feaster, D. J. (2011). Psychometric characteristics and race-related measurement invariance of stress and coping measures in adults with HIV/AIDS. AIDS and Behavior, 15,441-453. doi:10.1007/s10461-010-9854-1

Berlin, K. S., Davies, W. H., Silverman, A. H., & Rudolph, C. D. (2011). Assessing family-based feeding strategies, strengths, and mealtime structure with the Feeding Strategies Questionnaire. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36, 586–595. doi:10.1097/DBP.0b013e318203e06d

Berlin, K. S., Lobato, D. J., Pinkos, B., Cerezo, C., & LeLeiko, N. S. (2011). Patterns of medical and developmental comorbidities among children presenting with feeding problems: A latent class analysis. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32, 41-47. doi:10.1097/DBP.0b013e318203e06d

MacLaren-Chorney, J., Garcia, A. M., Berlin, K. S., Bakeman, R., & Kain, Z. M. (2010). Time window sequential analysis: An introduction for pediatric psychologists. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35, 1061-1070. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsq022

Luzier*, J., L. Berlin, K. S., & Weeks, J. W. (2010). Behavioral treatment of pediatric obesity: Review and future directions. Children’s Health Care, 39 312-334. doi:10.1080/02739615.2010.516202

Sato, A. F., Davies, W. H., Berlin, K. S., Simon, K., Khan, K. A., & Weisman, S. J. (2010). Assessing social consequences in pediatric chronic pain: A confirmatory approach to exploring the factor structure of the Social Consequences of Pain Questionnaire. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35, 611-616. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsp075

Berlin, K. S., Davies, W. H., Silverman, A. H., Woods, D. W., Fischer, E. A., & Rudolph, C. D. (2010). Assessing children’s mealtime problems with the Mealtime Behavior Questionnaire. Children’s Health Care, 39, 142-156. doi:10.1080/02739611003679956

Busch, A. M., Kanter, J. W., Callaghan, G. M., Weeks, C. E, Baruch, D. E., & Berlin, K. S. (2009). A micro-process analysis of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy’s mechanism of change. Behavior Therapy, 40, 280-290. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2008.07.003

Berlin, K. S., Davies, W. H., Lobato, D. J., & Silverman. A H. (2009). A biopsychosocial model of normative and problematic pediatric feeding. Children’s Health Care, 38, 263–282. doi:10.1080/02739610903235984

Hains, A. A., Berlin, K. S., Davies, W. H., Sato, A. F., Smothers, M. K., Clifford, L. C., & Alemzadeh, R. (2009). Attributions of teacher reactions to diabetes self-care. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 34, 97-107. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsn041

Sato, A. F., Berlin, K. S., Hains, A. A., Davies, W. H., Smothers, M. K., Clifford, L. M., & Alemzadeh, R. (2008). Teacher support of adherence for adolescents with type 1 diabetes: Preferred teachers support behaviors and youth’s perceptions of support. Diabetes Educator, 34, 866-873. doi:10.1177/0145721708322858

Kanter, J., W., Mulick, P., Busch, A. M, Berlin, K. S., & Martel, C. (2007). The Behavioral Activation for Depression Scale (BADS): Psychometric properties and factor structure. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 29, 191-202. doi:10.1007/s10862-006-9038-5

Jastrowski, K. E., Berlin, K. S., Sato, A. F., & Davies, W. D. (2007). Disclosure of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may decrease social rejection. Psychiatry, 70, 273-282. doi:10.1521/psyc.2007.70.3.274

Hains, A. A., Berlin, K. S., Davies, W. H., Smothers, M. K., Sato, A. F., & Alemzadeh, R. (2007) Attributions of adolescents with type 1 diabetes related to performing diabetes care around friends and peers: The moderating role of friend support. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 561-570. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsl040

Marcks, B. A, Berlin, K. S., Woods, D. W., & Davies, W. H. (2007). A preliminary investigation of the impact of tourette’s syndrome disclosure on peer perceptions and social functioning. Psychiatry, 70, 59-67. doi: 10.1521/psyc.2007.70.1.59

Hains, A. A., Berlin, K. S., Davies, W. H., Parton, E. A., & Alemzadeh, R. (2006). Attributions of adolescents with type 1 diabetes in social situations: Relationship with expected adherence, diabetes stress, and metabolic control. Diabetes Care, 29, 818-822. doi:10.2337/diacare.29.04.06.dc05-1828

Davies, W. H., Satter, E., Berlin, K. S., Sato, A. F., Silverman, A. H., Fischer, E. A., Arvedson, J., & Rudolph, C. D. (2006). Reconceptualizing feeding and feeding disorders in interpersonal context: The case for a relational disorder. Journal of Family Psychology, 3, 409-417. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.20.3.409

Berlin, K. S., Davies, W. H., Jastrowski, K. E., Hains, A. A., Parton, E., & Alemzadeh, R. (2006). Contextual assessment of problematic situations identified by adolescents using insulin pumps and their parents. Families, Systems, & Health, 24, 33-44. doi:10.1037/1091-7527.24.1.33

Berlin, K. S., Sass, D. A., Davies, W. H., Jandrisevits, M. D., & Hains, A. A. (2005). Cystic fibrosis disclosure may minimize risk of negative peer evaluations. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, 4,169-174. doi:10.1016/j.jcf.2005.05.012

Berlin, K. S., Sass, D. A., Davies, W. H., Reupert, S. R., & Hains, A. A. (2005). Brief Report: Parent perceptions of hypoglycemic symptoms of youth with diabetes; disease disclosure minimizes risk of negative evaluations. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 30, 207-212. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsi008

Davies, W. H., Berlin, K. S., & Telega, G. (2003). Common stressors among adults with celiac disease. Celiac Sprue Association Lifeline, 23, 16.

Berlin, K. S., Sass, D. A., Davies, W. H., & Hains, A. A. (2002). Impact of diabetes disclosure on perceptions of eating and self-care behaviors. Diabetes Educator, 28, 809-816.

The Society of Pediatric Psychology Awards Committee (Division 54 of the American Psychological Association) selected Dr. Berlin as the recipient of the Routh Early Career Award in Pediatric Psychology. The award recognizes significant contributions in service, research, and clinical training.