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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Marion Underwood, associate professor of psychology at Reed College, has been granted a National Institutes of Health (NIH) FIRST award of $350,000 to conduct five years of research on "Anger and Aggression: Effects of Gender and Context." The primary goal of this research is to employ observational methods to explore the development of anger expression in peer interactions during middle childhood and early adolescence, and to carefully examine the role of gender and social context.

Underwood, who came to Reed in 1991, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College (1986), and earned a M.A. (1987) and a Ph.D. (1991) from Duke University. She has received a number of fellowships and awards and has been actively involved in research on anger and aggression for over ten years. She has a long list of publications and presentations and is affiliated with the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, and several other academic organizations. Her professional interests include social development, children's peer relationships, and clinical intervention with children and families.

The purpose of the FIRST award is to provide a sufficient period of research support for newly independent, biomedical investigators to initiate their own research and demonstrate the merit of their own research ideas. FIRST awards rarely go to investigators at small colleges such as Reed. Underwood was able to launch her research program in large part because of the energetic assistance of Reed alumni and many student volunteers, and she has demonstrated that it is possible to do large-scale research in a small college setting.

The National Institutes of Health is one of the world's foremost biomedical research centers and the federal focal point for biomedical research in the U.S. The NIH, in Bethesda, Maryland, is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service which, in turn, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. NIH works toward that mission by conducting research in its own laboratories; supporting the research of non-federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helping in the training of research investigators; and fostering communication of biomedical information.