UT Dallas Professor Receives Research Grants from Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
June 1, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas – Dr. Shayla Holub, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, is one of 10 tenure-track faculty members in Texas to receive research grants totaling $150,000 from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
The one-year grants are capped at $15,000 each. The foundation received 35 proposals from faculty at 16 colleges and universities in Texas.
Holub will examine the relationship between weight and psychological health in young children. Her study will involve 150 children between ages four and six.
“The way we think and feel about our bodies begins forming at a very young age. This study will help identify ways to nurture a positive self-image in very young children, regardless of their size and weight,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
More than 30 percent of American children are estimated to be overweight, which has been associated with higher rates of depression, behavior problems, poor body image and low self-esteem, according to Holub's proposal. However, few studies have examined the link between psychological health and obesity during early childhood, when attitudes about weight and body size begin to develop.
“I will look at whether young children who experience teasing because of their weight are more at risk for behavior problems, negative self-perceptions, and problematic peer relationships,” Holub said. “This is important because early intervention might buffer these children from even more problems during middle childhood and adolescence.”
Holub is an assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and a childhood development expert at the Center for Children and Families.
The Hogg Foundation was founded in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James Hogg to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation’s grants and programs support mental health consumer services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas.