Self-regulation and toxic stress: Foundations for understanding self-regulation from an applied developmental perspective

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Murray, DW, KD Rosanbalm, C Christopoulos and A Hamoudi (2015). Self-regulation and toxic stress: Foundations for understanding self-regulation from an applied developmental perspective. Retrieved from



Katie Davis Rosanbalm

Associate Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Katie Rosanbalm is trained as a child clinical and quantitative psychologist. Her work focuses on program implementation and evaluation in the areas of early childhood systems, self-regulation development, child welfare, and trauma-sensitive schools. She has conducted longitudinal evaluations of child welfare reform, early childhood Systems of Care, and prevention/intervention programs for mental health and education.

Rosanbalm co-authored a series of white papers on self-regulation development from birth through early adulthood. She has also served on multiple state-level boards and task forces to strengthen the evidence-based implementation of programs for children and families.

Rosanbalm currently leads several ongoing evaluation projects, including:

  • Incredible Years Dinosaur School, a randomized controlled trial of self-regulation interventions in 120 N.C. PreK classrooms
  • Partnering for Excellence, a program to improve the integration of child mental health services into child welfare
  • Resilience and Learning, a partnership with the Public School Forum to develop and implement a trauma-sensitive school model in North Carolina
  • ITTI Care, a professional development framework to provide training and coaching on trauma-informed care to caregivers in infant/toddler classrooms.

COVID-19 Resources

Rosanbalm recently created a webinar, Self-Care: How to Combat Stress with Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic. She also shared a resource for people living with domestic violence during stay-at-home orders.

Tip Sheets on Supporting the Development of Self-Regulation in Young Children

Co-authored by Katie Rosanbalm for the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Explore these tips for helping caregivers use co-regulation to support development of self-regulation skills in preschoolers and young children in home settings.

Research Interests
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Self-Regulation
  • Trauma-Sensitive Schools
  • Program Evaluation
  • Early Childhood


Christina Christopoulos


Christina Christopoulos started her career at Duke in 1987 and in 1990 she became the coordinator of the Fast Track program, a longitudinal, multi-site prevention/intervention program aiming at reducing antisocial behavior. Since 2002 she has been the senior evaluation researcher of the Durham Family Initiative (DFI), a prevention/intervention program designed to reduce child maltreatment in the Durham Community. As DFI's senior evaluation researcher, she consulted in all aspects of evaluation, helping design studies, develop assessment tools, and coordinate and supervise data collections.

In collaboration with the DFI research team, Christopoulos assisted in the evaluation of the Multiple Response System (MRS), a family-centered response system to child protection that was introduced by the North Carolina Division of Social Services in 10 pilot counties in June 2002. The report titled "Multiple Response System Evaluation Report to the North Carolina Division of Social Services," was presented to the North Carolina General Assembly on June 30, 2006.

Christopoulos also consulted on the Evaluation of Improving Child Welfare Outcomes through Systems of Care, a five-year grant designed to develop an evaluation process to determine whether community-based, interagency Systems of Care (SOC) can effectively achieve positive outcomes for children and families involved with child welfare agencies and their partner agencies.

In 2008 she became the principal investigator for two contracts to evaluate the HillRAP intervention in the Durham and Davie county Public Schools. HillRAP is an intensive remediation program for students with specific learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorder. It was first designed and implemented at the Hill Center, a private school in Durham, North Carolina, and was subsequently revised for use in the public schools as a Tier 3 intervention in the Response to Intervention continuum.

Christopoulos is currently the evaluator of the Alamance Alliance for Children and Families, a six-year cooperative agreement awarded by SAMHSA to the Alamance County Department of Social Services. The program’s goal is to create a System of Care infrastructure to help families with children birth through five who have serious social-emotional difficulties.

In 2012 she became the evaluator for Project LAUNCH, a three-year SAMHSA grant. The program's goal is to improve the systems that serve young children so that all children birth through eight may reach their physical, social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral potential. Using a public health approach, the project will link, support and enhance promotion and prevention of family-centered resources for young children and families. Alamance County is the demonstration site for this project, and best practices identified through it will be disseminated widely in the state.

In the same year Christopoulos became a co-evaluator for the Partnering for Excellence Project funded by the Duke Endowment. The goal of the project is to explore the current child mental health and child welfare systems to understand how they currently work together, how children move through the system, and how data are shared.

Research Interests:
  • Children's Mental Health
  • Program Evaluation
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Ph.D. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - 1988
  • Post-doctorate Duke University, Durham, NC - 1987
  • M.A. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - 1984
  • B.A. University of Athens, Athens, Greece - 1980

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