- Developmental psychopathology
Benjamin Hankin’s research takes a developmental psychopathological approach to understand risk factors and mechanisms in depression and related internalizing emotional disorders, especially in children and adolescents. He is also interested in translating knowledge on vulnerability into evidence-based assessment and interventions. He is interested in studying the interplay and integration of various vulnerabilities to internalizing problems across multiple levels of analysis in youth, including: cognitive, interpersonal, temperament, stress, genetics, stress biology, cognitive control and executive function, attention, parenting, emotion, and neural circuitry. He typically studies these questions with intensive, prospective multi-wave designs that follow relatively large, unselected samples of youth and a caregiver from the general community over several years and across developmentally sensitive transitions. Additionally, Dr. Hankin has had long-standing interest in understanding optimal structure and organization for psychopathology and is delighted to pursue questions with multiple HiTOP scholars in the consortium. https://renaissance.stonybrookmedicine.edu/HITOP
Presently, he and his colleagues are translating the basic knowledge gained from several of these longitudinal risk studies into evidence-based assessment and intervention work. These translational efforts to synthesize risk mechanisms with intervention has been a major focus over the last 10 years with two large NIH-funded RCTs.
1. Along with Jami Young, Ph.D., the co-Primary Investigator at CHOP, he was PI of a 5-year NIMH funded study that investigated personalized depression prevention (PDP study) to investigate if we can better bend trajectories of depression and risk factors during adolescence. We conducted a 2-site randomized clinical trial to examine the benefits of matching youth to a prevention program (cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal) that best fits their individual needs (i.e., cognitive risk or interpersonal risk) and evaluated whether these youth are less likely to develop depression during the high-risk adolescent period. The primary paper and results have been published (Young et al., 2021 in JAACAP). Still, much exciting work remains to be done to best understand personalization of interventions to reduce prevalence and severity of psychopathology across the lifespan.
2. To the point on early in the lifespan, he is co-Primary Investigator, in collaboration with Dr. Elysia Davis at University of Denver, on a 5-year NIMH funded Randomized Clinical Trial ("The Care Project") in which we are testing whether reducing depressive symptoms among distressed pregnant women (through evidence-based interpersonal therapy) leads to decreased risk and improved outcomes for offspsring from birth to 18 months. In other words, we are aiming to evaluate whether risk for later emerging problems can be improved very early in the lifespan (e.g., during fetal development and beyond). We are examining numerous outcomes in the neonates with ongoing follow-ups over time: imaging babies' brains, EEG/ERP, observation of temperament, cortisol stress physiology, eye tracking for emotional stimuli, parent report). We have recently completed the RCT portion and are fortunate to have secured NIH funding to follow the offspring through ages 3-4 with NHLBI funding with Dr. Jena Doom and Dr. Davis at DU. Info on The Care Project can be found here: https://careprojectdenver.org/our-team
In recognition of his research, Dr. Hankin has been recognized with several awards, including the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychopathology in 2010, the Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor Award from the University of South Carolina in 2008, and the President's New Researcher Award from Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy in 2004. In 2016 he moved to University of Illinois Urbana Champaign as the Fred and Ruby Kanfer Professor of Psychology. He is on the editorial board of several leading clinical and developmental psychopathology journals.
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 2001
Additional Campus Affiliations
Affiliate, Center for Social and Behavioral Science
Please note: Dr. Hankin is NOT accepting or interviewing applicants for Ph.D. program in clinical-community psychology this year, 2022-23 or 2023-24.
Young, J. F., Jones, J. D., Gallop, R., Benas, J. S., Schueler, C. M., Garber, J., & Hankin, B. L. (2021). Personalized depression prevention: a randomized controlled trial to optimize effects through risk-informed personalization. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 60(9), 1116-1126.
Hankin, B. L. (2020). Screening for and personalizing prevention of adolescent depression. Current directions in psychological science, 29(4), 327-332.
Davis, E. P., Hankin, B. L., Swales, D. A., & Hoffman, M. C. (2018). An experimental test of the fetal programming hypothesis: Can we reduce child ontogenetic vulnerability to psychopathology by decreasing maternal depression?. Development and Psychopathology, 30(3), 787-806.
Hankin, B. L., Snyder, H. R., Gulley, L. D., Schweizer, T. H., Bijttebier, P., Nelis, S., ... & Vasey, M. W. (2016). Understanding comorbidity among internalizing problems: Integrating latent structural models of psychopathology and risk mechanisms. Development and Psychopathology, 28(4pt1), 987-1012.
Hankin, B. L., Young, J. F., Abela, J. R., Smolen, A., Jenness, J. L., Gulley, L. D., ... & Oppenheimer, C. W. (2015). Depression from childhood into late adolescence: Influence of gender, development, genetic susceptibility, and peer stress. Journal of abnormal psychology, 124(4), 803.
Hankin, B. L. (2015). Depression from childhood through adolescence: Risk mechanisms across multiple systems and levels of analysis. Current opinion in psychology, 4, 13-20.
Aran, Ö., Garcia, S. E., Hankin, B. L., Hyde, D. C., & Davis, E. P. (2023). Signatures of emotional face processing measured by event-related potentials in 7-month-old infants. Developmental psychobiology, 65(2), Article e22361. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.22361
Griffith, J. M., Long, E. E., Young, J. F., & Hankin, B. L. (2023). Co-occurring Stress Trajectories and the Longitudinal Coupling of Internalizing Symptoms in Parent-Adolescent Dyads. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 51(6), 885-903. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-023-01046-z
Hankin, B. L., & Griffith, J. M. (Accepted/In press). What Do We Know About Depression Among Youth and How Can We Make Progress Toward Improved Understanding and Reducing Distress? A New Hope. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-023-00437-4
Jones, J. D., Long, E. E., Hankin, B. L., Gallop, R., Davis, M., & Young, J. F. (Accepted/In press). Personalized Depression Prevention Reduces Dependent Stressors Among Adolescents: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2023.2188562
Smith, L. L., Snyder, H. R., Hankin, B. L., & Banich, M. T. (2023). Composite Measures of Brain Activation Predict Individual Differences in Behavioral Stroop Interference. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 35(5), 781-801. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01977