Emma Adam Receives Prestigious International Award

Emma Adam

Curt Richter Award recognizes early career contributions in psychoneuroendocrinology.

School of Education and Social Policy professor Emma Adam won the prestigious Curt Richter Award from the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology (ISPNE). The award recognizes early career contributions to the field of psychoneuroendocrinology.

Adam received the award on August 20 in Leiden, the Netherlands, at the annual meeting of the Society. She gave an award talk during the plenary session on “Social Influences on Child and Adolescent Cortisol in Naturalistic Settings:  Implications for Mood and Anxiety Disorders.” “Stress, Rhythm and Blues” was the theme of the conference, which featured scholars from nations around the world, including England, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland and the United States.

The International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology has awarded the Curt Richter Award annually for more than 20 years to a distinguished young investigator in the field of psychoneuroendocrinology. The paper that Adam submitted as part of her award application was on “Prospective Associations Between the Cortisol Awakening Response and Social Phobia Onsets in Older Adolescents and Young Adults Over a Six-Year Follow-up.” This research found that cortisol awakening response significantly predicted first onsets of anxiety disorders among adolescents.

Adam’s research focuses specifically on understanding how everyday events and emotions affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis for children, adolescents and young adults. She also examines the implications of variations in HPA activity for daily functioning, health and development.

“As a developmental psychologist, with an interest in using my research to identify and promote optimal environments for children and families, studying psychoneuroendocrine dynamics longitudinally in naturalistic settings is critical,” Adam says. “This approach has allowed me to reveal the types of real-world experiences that are most potent in activating the HPA axis in children and youth, and the ways in which HPA-axis activity matters for health and developmental outcomes.”

Adam, a professor of human development and social policy, is recognized as an expert in the developmental psychobiology of stress and sleep. She studies the contributions of work, school, family and individual factors to physiological stress in adolescents and young adults and the implications of stress for child and adolescent behavioral, cognitive and emotional development. She also examines social influences on sleep in children and adolescents, and the implications of variations in sleep timing and quality for health and performance.

Her current research projects include examinations of the following topics:

  • the role of stress, stress hormones and sleep in the development of mood and anxiety disorders in adolescents and young adults
  • racial/ethnic disparities in stress and the impact of perceived discrimination on stress hormones, sleep and health
  • the impact of early adverse relationship experiences on biological stress and health in young adults
  • how variations in stress and sleep affect the executive functioning and academic performance of Chicago Public School Students.

The International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology advances knowledge on hormones and their interactions with the brain, body processes and behavior, as well as their clinical applications. The Society seeks to facilitate and integrate basic and clinical investigations in psychoneuroendocrinology.

Caption: Emma Adam receives the Curt Richter award from Rachel Yehuda, president of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/24/13