Heather A. Yarger

Heather A. Yarger
University of Maryland, College Park | UMD, UMCP, University of Maryland College Park · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

28
Publications
6,594
Reads
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345
Citations
Citations since 2016
20 Research Items
323 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022020406080
2016201720182019202020212022020406080
Additional affiliations
May 2010 - July 2012
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
August 2012 - August 2018
University of Delaware
Field of study
  • Clinical Psychology

Publications

Publications (28)
Article
Full-text available
Neglect is the most prevalent form of maltreatment, but it has been understudied relative to abuse. Additionally, developmental outcomes associated with early maternal withdrawal have been understudied relative to outcomes associated with harsh treatment. However, a large body of studies on rodents has documented the causal effect of low maternal c...
Article
Background: Anxiety is one of the most common co-occurring conditions in people with autism spectrum disorder. The amygdala has been identified as related to anxiety in populations with and without autism, yet associations in autism were based on relatively small or developmentally constrained samples, leaving questions as to whether these results...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The goal of the current study was to characterize the impact of COVID-19 mitigation efforts (i.e., stay-at-home orders) on children’s mental health and parenting quality, as well as to assess predictors of children’s mental health during the pandemic. Methods: Seventy-nine children (18 with autism, 61 without) and their parents who par...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reviews and synthesizes key areas of research related to the etiology, development, and maintenance of internalizing symptoms in children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In developing an integrated conceptual model, we draw from current conceptual models of internalizing symptoms in ASD and extend the model...
Preprint
Neural reward network sensitivity in adolescence is proposed to differentially impact the effects of social environments on social outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to test this hypothesis within a context of diminished in-person social interaction. We examined whether neural sensitivity to interactive social reward moderates...
Article
Lay abstract: Conversation is a key part of everyday social interactions. Previous studies have suggested that conversational skills are related to theory of mind, the ability to think about other people's mental states, such as beliefs, knowledge, and emotions. Both theory of mind and conversation are common areas of difficulty for autistic peopl...
Article
Early Career Commentary on: Derek Sayre Andrews, Leon Aksman, Connor M. Kerns, Joshua K. Lee, Breanna M. Winder-Patel, Danielle Jenine Harvey, Einat Waizbard-Bartov, Brianna Heath, Marjorie Solomon, Sally J. Rogers, Andre Altmann, Christine Wu Nordahl, David G. Amaral Association of Amygdala Development With Different Forms of Anxiety in Autism Sp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Successful social interactions are assumed to depend on theory of mind (ToM)—the ability to represent others’ mental states—yet most studies of the relation between ToM and social-interactive success rely on non-interactive tasks that do not adequately capture the spontaneous engagement of ToM, a crucial component of everyday social interactions. W...
Article
Children who have been adopted internationally often exhibit persistent behavior problems. The current study assessed the efficacy of the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up intervention (ABC; Dozier & Bernard, 2019) for reducing behavior problems in 122 children adopted internationally. Behavior problems were measured via parent-report using the...
Article
Full-text available
Children adopted internationally experience adverse conditions prior to adoption, placing them at risk for problematic social–emotional development. The Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) intervention was designed to help internationally adoptive parents behave in ways that promote young children's social–emotional competence. Participants...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death across all age groups globally and poses a significant public health burden. In response to the United States Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals, a tertiary hospital in the Northeast U.S. developed a suicide risk assessment and response protocol, consisting of systematic screenin...
Article
Full-text available
Maltreatment during development is associated with epigenetic changes to the genome. Enhancing caregiving may mitigate these effects. Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) is an intervention that has been shown to improve parent–child relationships and a variety of biological and behavioral outcomes among children that are involved in Child P...
Article
Full-text available
This randomized controlled trial investigated the efficacy of Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC; Dozier, Bick, & Bernard, 2011) in reducing disrupted parenting behavior (affective communication errors, role/boundary confusion, fearful/disoriented, intrusive/negativity, and withdrawal) and its association with disorganized attachment. Parti...
Article
Full-text available
Early experiences of maltreatment have long-term negative effects on children's compliance. This randomized clinical trial examined whether a brief preventative intervention (Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up; ABC) was effective in enhancing compliance in children who had been referred to Child Protective Services. Participants included 101 par...
Article
Full-text available
Children adopted internationally are often dysregulated biologically and behaviorally due to prior experiences of institutional care or caregiving changes and thus are in need of enhanced parental care. The present study assessed whether parents randomized to receive Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) demonstrated significant improvements...
Article
Full-text available
Young children in foster care are at increased risk for problematic language development, making early intervention a critical tool in enhancing these children's foundational language abilities. This study examined the efficacy of an early preventative intervention, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up for Toddlers (ABC-T), in improving the recept...
Article
Full-text available
Preventative interventions are needed across the lifespan, including for children who have experienced maltreatment. However, interventions’ effect sizes are typically smaller in real-world settings than in clinical trials. Identifying providers who are likely to implement interventions with fidelity could promote implementation outcomes through ta...
Article
Full-text available
The first aim of the current study was to examine the latent structure of attachment states of mind as assessed by the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) among three groups of parents of children at risk for insecure attachments: parents who adopted internationally (N = 147), foster parents (N = 300), and parents living in poverty and involved with C...
Article
Using an intensive short-term longitudinal design, this study first examined whether there were significant differences in maternal sensitivity and intrusiveness after completion of Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC; Dozier & the Infant-Caregiver Project Lab, 2013) when compared to a control condition. The second aim was to explore the rat...
Article
Full-text available
Growing evidence supports the effectiveness of Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents (TGCT-A) in reducing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and maladaptive grief (MG) reactions. This pilot study explored whether the specific focus of students’ narratives (i.e., focus on trauma vs. focus on loss) as shared by TGCT-A group me...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated differences in co-occurring diagnoses made in females compared to males with autism spectrum disorders in 913 children (746 males and 167 females) living in the United States with a current autism spectrum disorder diagnosis identified via caregiver-reported data from the National Survey of Children's Health 2007. The result...
Conference Paper
Background: Researchers have noted that as the overall number of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) diagnoses has increased over the last few decades, a large difference in the number of female versus male diagnoses has also persisted, with males being 3-4 times more likely than females to be diagnosed with ASD. Reasons for the large sex difference r...
Article
This study aimed to investigate descriptive characteristics and co-occurring neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions in young children, children, and adolescents with a current and consistent or past but not current (PBNC) diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how such characteristics and conditions may engender a change in diagnosi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: Researchers have recently begun to understand the importance of co-occurring developmental and psychiatric conditions in the context of proper diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Previous studies have shown high rates of co-occurring developmental and psychiatric disorders in children with an ASD, while stabilit...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
BACKGROUND: With obesity rates at an all time high, it is imperative to gather data on new methods for effectively promoting health in this population. Consequently, a growing number of researchers have called for a closer look at adaptive eating strategies. Intuitive eating is a recently defined and validated construct that is inversely related to...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Between 42% and 84% of adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are also diagnosed with anxiety disorders. This co-occurrence of ASD and anxiety leads to more self-injurious behavior, more depressive symptoms, poorer relationships with teachers, peers, and family members, and higher levels of aggressive behavior than those with ASD alone. There is thus a significant need to identify a biomarker for anxiety in those with autism. This project proposes that respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), a measure of cardiac vagal activity, is one such potential biological indicator of co-occurring anxiety. By recruiting four groups of adolescents— those with diagnoses of autism and anxiety, with autism but without anxiety, without diagnoses of autism but with anxiety, and without autism and without anxiety—Yarger, Dunbar and Redcay will examine whether the presence of anxiety symptoms in children on the autism spectrum can be assessed with RSA in real-world social-interactive contexts. While previous studies have examined RSA in lab settings, this project will be the first to examine adolescents on the autism spectrum in real-life and in a sample with both autism and anxiety. It will also focus on recruitment of historically underrepresented individuals on the autism spectrum in autism research (i.e., Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) to reduce disparities starting within research. https://bbi.umd.edu/news/story/2022-bbi-seed-grant-awards-to-fuel-innovation-in-aging-and-development-research
Project
To develop a modularized, assessment-driven, manualized intervention for youth (approximately) aged 12-20 that can be (a) flexibly tailored and adapted according to the needs of youth who are variously exposed to traumatic experiences, bereavement, and/or traumatic bereavement; (b) flexibly implemented in group or individual modalities; and (c) flexibly implemented in various service settings, including schools, juvenile justice, community mental health, hospital-based clinics, and private practice.