Building Resilience And Nurturing Children's Health (BRANCH) Study
Take our survey below to see if you're eligible! We'll contact you to let you know if you qualify within a few days.
What is the BRANCH study?
Do you want to participate in a study on the strength of rural families and communities? If you have a child between 6.5-8 years old, you are invited to participate in the Building Resilience and Nurturing Children's Health (BRANCH) Study!
Compensation for completing all parts of the study is up to $390. (paid on a ClinCard prepaid Visa debit card).
Building Resilience and Nurturing Children's Health (BRANCH) is a study that aims to work with rural families to understand how families and communities promote strength and resilience to protect their youth from the ways in which stress influences behavioral risk for addictive behaviors, such as substance use.
Part 1: Home visit where participants (legal guardian and child) play games together and take surveys (1.5hr) and a visit to UGA for a 37min MRI scan and surveys (2hr total visit). Participants will be asked for a saliva sample, to wear a sleep tracking watch, and to track mood daily on an app. (1-2 min)
Part 2: 18 months after Stage 1, a follow-up MRI scan and surveys (2hr total visit).
Part 3: 18 months after Stage 2, both participants will take an online survey (1hr) to wrap up.
Legal guardian will be asked for permission to contact child's teacher for a brief survey about the child's school and peer relationships.
BRANCH (Building Resiliency and Nurturing Children's Health) is an NIH-funded study (R01 DA055630-01) that aims to investigate how the strength of rural families and communities helps develop resilience in youth for five years.
How Can I Participate?
Families are first screened (via phone) to determine whether a child is eligible. Eligible families will be contacted again to set up appointments, and will be provided instructions on what to expect and directions to the appointment. Participanting families are compensated for the time spent participating in the study.
You can see if you are eligible by filling out this form!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the MRI safe?
Yes! The MRI is safe and easy. No health risks have been associated with repeated exposure to the magnetic field or radio waves used in MRI. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, MRI uses no radiation.
Is there anyone who should not have an MRI?
Because the MRI uses a strong magnet, you should not wear any metal (such as piercings, jewelry, or metallic clothing) during the scan. You should not have an MRI if you have certain types of metal in your body. Dental fillings are safe because they are made of a special metal, but metal braces at the initial visit are not.
Will my identity and my child's identity be kept confidential?
All information we collect is kept confidential. It will be securely stored and separated from personal information. All personal information will be kept confidential except in cases when we witness something we are legally obligated to report as mandatory reporters.
Will we be compensated for the participation?
Yes, you and your child will be paid for time spent participating in the study.
Can we find out the results of the study?
Yes, results from the study will emerge as we combine the data and see how they change over time.
This video will show you and your child what the MRI will be like!
This video will show you and your child a tour of the BIRC Center where the MRI takes place!
This video will show you and your child what an MRI sounds like- sort of like a train or steam boat!
Building Resilience and Nurturing Children's Health (1R01DA055630-01A1) is a NIH-funded study that aims to work with rural families to understand how families and communities promote strength and resilience to protect their youth from the ways in which stress influences behavioral risk for addictive behaviors, such as substance use.
The influence of broader community contexts on children’s neurocognitive development and risk for downstream drug misuse is significant. The focus of this proposal is on children who reside in rural Georgia. Being poor in the rural South is particularly challenging for families. Emerging research suggests that rural vs. urban poverty is characterized by distinct risk and protective factors that have unique effects on children’s neural and socio-emotional development.
These differences underscore the unique contextual risk and protective factors that affect the development of drug use vulnerability among rural youth. Informed by an ecological developmental neuroscience perspective, we purport that neural markers of vulnerability cannot be understood in isolation from children’s experience of their ecological contexts. The proposed study is among the first to integrate neural assessments with multidimensional assessments of environmental stressors and protective processes in rural communities and begins following children at age 7 during a sensitive developmental period for life-course-persistent effects on drug use vulnerability.
Our core premise posits that the efficiency of cognitive control systems (cognitive control networks [CCN]) in modulating socio-emotional systems (emotion, reward, and salience networks [ERSN]) is a mechanism linking rural children’s exposure to adversity to their drug use vulnerabilities. We consider the multidimensional nature of adversity and specify environmental experiences associated with threat, deprivation, and unpredictability. However, considerable individual differences exist in the pathway linking adversity to drug use vulnerability, a product of children’s exposure to family, peer, school, and community protective processes.
We propose to recruit 265 rural children (age 6.5-8) and their primary caregivers into a prospective cohort study (following children from ages 7 to 10). Children will participate in fMRI scans to assess CCN modulation of the ERSN.
To assess exposure to adversity and social-ecological protective factors, we will obtain rich multi-level information that can be used to test the following aims: 1) the influence of childhood adversity on neural risk mechanisms, 2) the indirect influence of adversity on drug use vulnerability via neural risk mechanisms, and 3) the moderating influence of family, peer, school, and community protective factors on the links between childhood adversity neural risk as well as between neural risk and drug use vulnerabilities.
Multi-level research that effectively connects rural contexts, neuroimaging, and behavioral data is critical for advancing the precision and specificity of developmental models of drug use resilience for this population.