Is the Body or Mind More Eager to Help?
Dr. Heather Chabot’s research into domestic violence intervention
funds from the INBRE grant, Dr. Heather Chabot will investigate
physiological and psychological responses toward victims of domestic
violence. Her study will explore whether the perceptions of victims of
domestic violence influence the way others treat them and their
willingness to provide assistance to victims. The question that informs
her research is, to what degree is the general population aware of
domestic violence. Her search also examines the age-old mind/body
relationship as she hopes to reveal the underlying psychology and
associated physiology that drive a certain decision and behavioral
pattern. Additionally, Dr. Chabot hopes to determine if would-be helpers
experience relief or stress after they decide to intervene.
In her teaching at New England College, Dr. Chabot, Associate Professor of Psychology, consistently encourages students to engage in the research process and to share their findings with others. In her “Research Methods” class, students investigate a topic of their choice and conduct and present a research study. Students choose a variety of presentation options and have shared their research in the form of presentations at regional and national psychology conferences and contributions to scholarly papers. Dr. Chabot has co-authored papers with her students including one that was recently published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. She views research as a collaborative endeavor and believes that most students can do science, they just have to believe that they can. She sees her role in the classroom as giving students the skills and confidence to pursue scientific goals. “You can’t just assign a project and tell your students it’s due in fourteen weeks,” she remarks. “They need to be talked through it and supported throughout the project.”
Dr. Chabot plans to initiate the next phase of her research into domestic violence in the 2011 spring semester and will actively seek the participation of NEC students. Through the INBRE grant, Dr. Chabot will be able to train students in research, purchase equipment and supplies, and offer students a stipend, allowing them to continue to assist in the research process though the summer months.
The INBRE grant will also provide much needed funds making it possible for students to attend scientific conferences. According to Dr. Chabot, “The INBRE grant presents a tremendous opportunity for students to advance their knowledge in science while participating in professional level interactions with other researchers.”
Another important aspect of the grant is the collaborative relationships that will be established with the other institutions receiving INBRE funds. Students will have the opportunity to connect with researchers at other institutions in New Hampshire, learn research techniques, attend presentations, and share research and facilities.
Throughout the three- year grant cycle, Dr. Chabot will work closely with Dr. Victoria Banyard, a colleague at the University of New Hampshire, who specializes in exploring innovative approaches to preventing interpersonal violence.
For more information about the New Hampshire Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NH-INBRE), please visit their website at http://nhinbre.org.