@HEART; Healthy Experiences Across Relationships and Transitions lab (Ha)

@Heart Lab
Keywords: adolescence, romantic relationships, multidisciplinary research, developmental psychopathology, culture, health, stress physiology
Lab Area
Clinical Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Lab Director
Thao Ha, PhD
Actively Recruiting Undergraduate Researchers

Welcome to the Healthy Experiences Across Relationships and Transitions lab (@HEART lab)!
Visit the main Website here!

Research in the @Heart lab focuses on understanding the reciprocal processes that link romantic relationship experiences to emotional and behavioral adjustment. We are particularly interested in relationships formed during adolescence and early adulthood. These early relationships can be one of the most rewarding experiences and offer opportunities to learn what relationships are all about. For some adolescents, negative relationship experiences can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as problem behaviors such as intimate partner violence, sexual risk-taking, substance use, and truancy. We investigate all phases of romantic relationships, from partner selection and break ups, to the development of new romantic relationships among heterosexual and sexual minority youth. Furthermore, we investigate these early romantic relationships in the context of relationships with parents and friends. From a larger societal context, we are interested in the impact of culture, ethnicity, and SES on relationship development and adjustment outcomes. We recently started to work on developing new methods to objectively measure online relationship processes to investigate how relationship processes dynamically emerge and develop online and interact with offline behaviors.

Understanding risk and resilience among youth within their romantic relationships will help inform prevention and intervention strategies to promote healthy relationships and transitions.

The @Heart lab is a multidisciplinary lab using a multilevel perspective to study the development of romantic relationships and adjustment. We study adolescent romantic couples within their natural environments by using dyadic methods that capture affective, psychophysiological, genetic, and neurocognitive levels of development at multiple time scales, from milliseconds to days, years, and decades.

Join the lab!

We have a fantastic team of undergraduates who play an integral role in our research. We periodically accept new research assistants to assist in the lab for course credit or to volunteer. If you are interested in our research, please contact Natalie at nrgross1@asu.edu for more information and qualification requirements.  

(Back row (left to right): Bria Welch, Shane Kasmarogi, Emma Calveri, William Margulis, Trinity Strecker, and Elizabeth Nguyen. Front row (left to right): Annie Cooper, Olivia Maras, Selena Quiroz, Panya Bhalla, Thao Ha, and Ava Trimble. Not pictured: Maheeyah Mukarram, Emily Randle, Noor Lababidi, Rachel Aronoff, Shea Saysavanh, Shreya Konakalla, and Victoria Klennert.)

Thao Ha, PhD. Lab director and principal investigator

Dr. Ha is an assistant professor and a member of the developmental and clinical faculty. Her multidisciplinary research focuses on the development of adolescent romantic relationships. Dr. Ha investigates how partner choices, relationship dynamics, and break-ups affect adolescents’ emotional and behavioral adjustment over time. The goal of this research is to better understand why some adolescents are highly vulnerable to their relationship experiences. Dr. Ha earned her PhD in Psychology from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 2013. Dr. Ha completed a postdoctoral and assistant research positions in the School of Social and Family Dynamics, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research (IISBR), and Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. Dr. Ha received three early career awards, including the APS Rising Star from APS, the Young Scientist Award from the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, and the Young Scholar Award for Social Neuroscience Perspectives on Child Development from the Society for Research on Child Development and the Jacobs Foundation.  Curriculum Vitae.

Current graduate students

Selena Quiroz, MSc.  Selena received Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Psychology from NAU in May 2017. She then received her Master of Science in Psychology at ASU-West in May 2019. Selena is currently a second-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology PhD Program at ASU. Selena is interested in relationship formation and maintenance in adolescent and young adult populations, with particular interest in technology and dating violence.

Olivia Maras - Olivia is a Developmental Psychology PhD student at ASU. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2020; after graduating, she worked as a Research Technician at the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am interested in studying peer, romantic, and familial relationships, and how these relationships influence healthy development, socio-emotional functioning, and risk-taking behaviors. I am additionally interested in how adolescent relationships influence long term adjustment and future relationship habits, as well as dating violence prevention.

Current affiliated graduate students

Charlie Champion, clinical psychology (ASU)
Liv Ivie, clinical psychology (UO)

Past graduate students

Adam Rogers, PhD (assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University)
Frank Poulsen, PhD (associate director of research coordination and support in a national ecclesiastic organization)

Current undergraduate student assistants

Sophie Aronfeld
Emma Calveri
Ellee Deghetto
Alaina Dettmer
Taylor Eicher
Roger Karner
Rachel Mort
Maheeyah Mukarram
Emily Randle
Lia Rocha
Shea Saysavanh
Lorena Jasso Solorzano
Ava Trimble
Azucena Valles
Cesar Varela
Bria Welch

Research affiliations

Research and Education Advancing Children’s Health Institute (REACH), ASU
Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research (IISBR), UCI,