The scope of Dr. Pfeffer's research is to identify the effects of severe stresses on children's development, emotional states, psychiatric conditions, and cognitive, social, and physiological functioning. Her publications (see publications page) highlight the scope of her studies which are outlined below.
Dr. Pfeffer's studies involve:
1. Understanding risk for suicidal behavior in children and adolescents by linking immediate and long-term psychosocial, developmental, family, and biological factors to suicidal states in children and adolescents.
2. Enhancing suicide prevention by developing screening methods to identify suicidal risk in children, adolescents, and young adults.
3. Development of group treatment formats for children and adolescents who experienced the death of a loved one.
4. Understanding and comparing effects of severe stress from sudden, unexpected deaths (suicide, accident, homicide, and 911-terror attacks) and expected deaths (short and long-term illness) of loved ones on children's immediate and long-term emotional , psychiatric, cognitive, social, and biological outcomes.
5. Identifying whether family psychopathology and parental physiological functioning influences outcomes of children who experienced severe stresses of bereavement in childhood.