Leah Hibel

Dec 10, 2013 admin

Biography:

Hibel, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology, specializes in mother-child relationships and physiological regulation. Hibel completed her Ph.D. in biobehavioral health with a minor in human development and family studies at the Pennsylvania State University before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2013. She was previously an assistant professor at Purdue University in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

Research interests:

Maternal and child health, mother-child relationships, stress and stress physiology, income and poverty, conflict and violence

Brief overview:

My research focuses on the implications of stressful family environments on mother-child relationships and health. A core component of this is the integration of biological markers of stress physiology. Mothers serve as external regulators of their children’s behaviors, emotions, and physiology. When a child becomes upset, scared, or angry, the mother helps the child make sense of the situation and calms and soothes the child. When mothers are able to effectively regulate their child’s behavioral and physiological processes, the child internalizes the interactions and begins to learn to control these processes on their own. However, family and community stressors can affect a mother’s ability to act as her child’s external regulator. I study how stressors impact the behavioral and physiological reactions of mothers and children. To date, I have examined families facing stressors such as poverty, work stress, and inter-parental conflict/violence. Ultimately, my research aims to elucidate potential mechanisms by which family interactions impact lifelong health and well-being.  

Current projects:

  • Examining maternal physiological reactivity to work stress, parenting stress, and marital stress and its implications for maternal behavior, as well as child behavior and physiology
  • Examining the effects of maternal stress on maternal and child immunity and passively shared immunity (e.g., breast milk physiology)

Departments:

Human Ecology:
Student News

Design It, Build It

Aug 21, 2015 Truscott donation allows landscape architecture students to dig in.

Student News - More Student News…
Research News

UC Davis Receives Unique, $1.5 Million Gift from Aggie Couple

Jul 07, 2016 Michael and Joelle Hurlston have pledged $1.5 million to endow a first-of-its-kind chair position.

Research News - More Research News…
Outreach News

Summer Internships

Jul 28, 2015 CA&ES students and Salinas Valley employers find common ground.

Outreach News - More Outreach News…
Web Editors

Content in this section is managed by Robin DeRieux. If you have any suggestions or need something changed, please contact her at