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  • Professor Tia Murphy and Megan Rowan ’19 work in the Toll Atrium.
    Professor Tia Murphy and Megan Rowan ’19 work in the Toll Atrium.
July 23, 2018

A rising senior who has collaborated on several child development research projects with Associate Professor of Psychology Tia Murphy, Megan Rowan devoted much of her summer to preparing a paper for publication.

After the experiment designs, the observational studies, the data collection, the coding and analysis, and the poster presentations comes the moment of truth for scientific researchers—synthesizing your findings for publication in a professional journal. Megan Rowan ’19, a psychology major with a minor in public health, found herself at that point this summer, readying a paper on helicopter parenting for publication.

It’s a piece of a larger study of attachment and jealousy drawn from the work that Associate Professor of Psychology Tia Murphy and her team of student researchers have been pursuing for the past four years. A John Toll Fellow, Rowan helped Murphy with the coding and statistical analysis of the data last summer and presented her findings at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association this spring.

“Using attachment theory, we’re looking at a couple of areas that may be predictors of helicopter parenting as the children grow toward independence,” Rowan says. “Mothers who are more anxiously attached themselves might be more likely to become helicopter parents. We see a lot of behaviors in younger children that suggest parents are too involved in every decision the child makes. If we can predict helicopter parenting in young mothers, we think we can help them empower their children to take responsibility for their own actions and to allow them to make age-appropriate decisions on their own.”

Rowan, who attended a small all-girls’ high school in Baltimore, was sold on psychology after taking her first General Psych class. She also got involved in Caring for Kids, a service club at Washington College that helps children in need.

“When I decided to be a psych major I was looking at research opportunities and saw the child development lab,” she says. “It’s given me a lot of skills that will help with grad school applications and career goals. I’ve decided now to pursue graduate programs in developmental psychology.”


Last modified on Aug. 1st at 11:21am by Marcia Landskroener.