College of Education and Human Development wordmark.

McNair Scholar 2012Caprecia Matthias

Caprecia Matthias is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in family social science. Her research interests are in trauma, parenting styles, couple relationships, and mental and child health. Ms. Matthias plans on getting her Masters’ degree in Couple and Family Therapy and then later pursing her Ph.D.

Caprecia Matthias photo
My dream is to help children, families, and couples by becoming a couple and family therapist and eventually open up my own practice. I want to be involved in and make a difference in children’s lives so that they can succeed in life pursing their own hopes and dreams.

Research project

Association of Parent Vagal Tone to Emotion Regulation during Military Reintegration: Possible Gender Differences

Abstract: This study examined the correlates of emotion regulation among 49 recently deployed parents and their partners/spouses. Emotion regulation is key to healthy functioning, and in particular, to effective parenting during times of transition.  Reintegration after deployment may be a particularly challenging transition period, particularly for those returning to parenting roles after an extended period in a combat zone. We examined the associations between self-reports of emotion regulation difficulties (using the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale/DERS) and vagal tone (an index of autonomic flexibility) - a biological correlate of emotion regulation. Higher vagal tone is associated with improved emotion regulation capacities. Vagal tone was assessed using heart rate monitors worn by each parent during parent-child observational tasks (problem solving and teaching tasks). Vagal tone was positively associated with self-report of problems in emotional awareness but not with other facets of emotion regulation. Sample size limited the study. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Abi Gerwitz is currently an Associate Professor in the Family Social Science Department at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Gewirtz attended Columbia University where she received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1997. Her research focuses on trauma, resilience, and promoting children’s healthy development. Dr. Gewirtz has published in multiple research journals and has presented her work at conferences nationwide. Dr. Gewirtz has been a McNair faculty mentor for the past 8 years.