Parent Research Projects

Most trainees will be located at the BUAP in Puebla working closely with Drs. Lopez and Lara-Muñoz. A few will be working in Mexico City at el Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria (INP).

Projects in Puebla

Psychosis literacy

Drawing on theory regarding illness attributions, help-seeking, and self-efficacy, Dr. Lopez, Dra. Lara-Muñoz and their research team developed an innovative psychoeducational training module, La CLAve, to improve Spanish-speaking Latinos' literacy of psychosis to ensure that Latinos with serious mental health problems obtain appropriate care in a timely fashion. Psychosis is the focus. Given that it is related to a number of disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, dementia, and substance abuse) and is associated with considerable burden to family caregivers and society overall. In the training, symptoms are described in clear, every day language, and illustrated with music, video clips, or art to increase participant understanding and knowledge of psychosis. A mnemonic device that reflects the key symptoms of psychosis was developed to facilitate the participants' recall of the symptoms of psychosis and to enhance their belief that they can identify psychosis in others. In past research, Lopez and colleagues recruited Community residents from community meetings at health facilities and health fairs to examine whether the training modified Spanish-speaking adult's literacy regarding psychosis. Consistent evidence was found that the training led to an increase in the literacy domains of knowledge, illness attribution, professional referrals, and self-efficacy beliefs.

In the summer of 2012 we collaborated with the Secretaría de Salud de Puebla to take the first steps in disseminating this program throughout Puebla. We trained lay community health workers to adminster "La Clave sin luz", a version of the psychoeducation program that does not require electricity and computers. We anticipate developing this further in the summer of 2013. (pdf)

Families and Chronic Illnes: Schizophrenia

Dr. Lopez has maintained an active interest in how family factors are associated with the course of schizophrenia. He, Dr. Lara-Muñoz and colleagues are involved in a new area of research funded by the Foundation for Psychocultural Research ( to examine the relationship of the social orientation of caregivers and their ill relatives, and the ill relative's clinical and social functioning. In particular, we are measuring the extent to which caregivers orient their ill relatives to the social world and how that relates to the ill relative's functioning. In Los Angeles, we examine the ill relative's neural functioning as well. In Puebla we focus on the assessment of the caregiver and ill relative's social orientation and the ill relative's functioning. In 2012, we launched the data collection which is composed of multiple methods: home observation interviews of caregivers and ill relatives, questionnaires, and videotaped interactions in their homes. (pdf)

Families and Chronic Illness: Childhood Cancer or Diabetes

To complement the study of families and schizophrenia, Dr. Kristin Yarris, in collaboration with Drs. Muñoz and Lopez, will be initiating a study of family caregiving for children with chronic illness.  As a beginning effort, the study will be largely explorative and use primarily qualitative methods. Families of children diagnosed with a chronic condition will be recruited from a local hospital in Puebla and interviews will be conducted with key relative caregivers and with children. (pdf)

Projects in Mexico City

The Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramon de la Fuente ( is the national institute in Mexico devoted to carrying out research on mental health and substance abuse disorders and their treatment. We have established relations with the Direccion de Investigaciones Epidemiológicas y Psicosociales ( which provided a home for 3 trainees in 2011 and 2 trainees in 2012. They worked with Dras. Shoshana Berenzon and Guillermina Natera on projects of perceived efficacy of mental health professionals and lay healers, the expression of depression among indigenous women from the state of Hildago, and the integration of mental health care within health care. In 2013, trainees will continue to work on the integration of mental health services project. Additional projects at the INP regarding depression and alcohol abuse may be available for students to work on in 2013.


  • Dr. Steven R. Lopez, Ph.D.
  • University of Southern California
  • Dornsife College, Psychology Department
  • 3620 McClintock Avenue, SGM 501
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061