McNair Scholar 2018 Brianna Lundgren

Brianna Lundgren is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience and Family Social Science. Her research interests revolve around how early adverse experiences impact future stress regulation, resilience and grit. Brianna plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical or counseling psychology.

Brianna Lundgren headshot
My dream is to help adolescents embrace their strengths and resilience in order to achieve their goals. I also strive to de-stigmatize the negative connotations around mental health and to advocate for self-care and holistic wellness.

Research project

Internalizing, Externalizing, and ADHD Symptoms of Post-Institutionalized Adolescents

Abstract: Children placed in pre-adoption institutions, such as orphanages, often experience severe early deprivation due to neglect in the form of no caregiver-child interactions and a lack of emotional and physical stimulus. Previous research has linked this early deprivation to behavioral problems in post-institutionalized adolescents. This study intends to replicate and extend past research by examining potential behavioral problems of PI adolescents across three symptom domains: externalizing, internalizing and ADHD. Two groups of adolescents ages 13-21 were examined across multiple behavioral domains using the MacArthur Health behavior questionnaire as a symptomology measurement. Groups consisted of 51 PI adolescents and 49 non-adopted adolescents. Both the participants and their parents completed HBQ reports. Group means of the behavioral domains and their subgroups were compared. A main effect for groups via parent report was found for an increase in internalizing symptoms among PI kids, with the child report showing similar trends. The previous results were similar for externalizing symptoms. Both parent and child reported group main effects were found for an increase in ADHD symptoms in PI kids. Consistent with previous research a significant difference was found in externalizing, internalizing and ADHD symptoms between post-institutionalized and non-adopted adolescents.

Faculty mentor

Dr. Megan Gunnar is an Adjunct Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Director of the Institute of Child Development. After graduating from Mills College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, she received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Stanford University. Dr. Gunnar is internationally known for her research on stress neurobiology and development and has authored numerous publications.