Current Projects

The BIRCH Project: Building Interpersonal Resilience and Community Health

Supported by a grant from the National Insitute of Mental Health (NIMH), the BIRCH Project partners with local middle and high schools for a multi-method, longitudinal study of risk and resilience in adolescence. A major focus of BIRCH is to better understand the protective power of interpersonal relationships in supporting adolescents’ academic achievement, social adjustment, and emotional well-being. Partner schools receive professional development and consultation from the BIRCH team. We are currently recruiting partner schools for the 2020-2021 academic year. For more information, contact



The FRIENDS Resilience Project

The Peer Relations Lab has partnered with Regional School Unit 63 to implement the FRIENDS program in all guidance classes for grades K, 2, 5, and 7. The FRIENDS program is a resilience development curriculum founded in cognitive-behavioral therapy principles. FRIENDS was originally adapted from the U.S.-based Coping Cat program (Kendall & Hedtke, 2006) and later the Australian-based Coping Koala program (Barrett, Dadds, Holland, 1994), both evidenced-based individual treatments for anxiety. The FRIENDS adaption allows clinicians to deliver this evidence-based curriculum in a group format (e.g., in the schools) and has been endorsed by the World Health Organization as a leading intervention for the development of youth resilience.


Recently Completed Projects

Maine Adolescent Cognition (MAC) Study

The Maine Adolescent Cognition (MAC) Study focused on learning about adolescents’ affective, physiological, and cognitive response to social rejection and rumination. In particular, this study compared response to imagery- and verbally-based cognition.

Maine Adolescent Peer Project (MAPP)

The Maine Adolescent Peer Project (MAPP) was a large-scale, longitudinal study of adolescent males and females and their close, same-sex friends. The project aimed to better understand the reciprocal impacts of emotional adjustment and friendship experiences in adolescence.

College Health and Mood Project (CHAMP)
The College Health and Mood Project (CHAMP) was a study of college students’ physical and psychological health.  The project aimed to better understand relationships between health, mood, and memory functioning.

North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) Peer Project
The North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) Peer Project was a longitudinal school-based study that examined contagion of health-risk behaviors (e.g., depressive symptoms) within dyadic friendships and the larger social network of a middle and high school. 

Peer Interactions in College Students Study
The Peer Interactions in College Students Study was a longitudinal study aimed at better understanding initial perceptions of and reactions to depressed individuals by both depressed and non-depressed peers using an experimental task. Long-term implications for mental health symptoms were examined. 

Maine Emotional Adjustment (MEA) Study
The Maine Emotional Adjustment (MEA) Study examined college student’s memory and emotional adjustment.  The project aimed to better understand how college students think about and remember information, and how this impacted their well-being.