Faculty Profile: Cynthia Loncar, PHD, MA

Cynthia Loncar
Cynthia Loncar, PHD, MA
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Research), Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior (Research)
Department of Pediatrics, Department of Psychiatry & Human Development
Work: +1 401-274-1122-ext48904
My research focuses on parenting practices, prenatal and medical risks and factors within the child for their impact on child development and child psychopathology. Areas of focus have included children born prematurely, maternal depression, and prenatal substance-exposure.


My academic focus is on identifying factors within the parent and family system that can enhance child developmental outcomes in high risk children. My research examines the influence of parenting attitudes, parenting stress, maternal depression, and maternal sensitivity for their impact on the dyad to interact effectively and optimize child outcomes. My focus for researching evidence-based models of parenting treatment has further guide my clinical work as a psychologist with regard to best practice. I share my commitment to understanding parenting and child development through my teaching of pre and post-doctoral clinical psychologists, undergraduates and medical students.



Research Description

My research has examined the impact of parenting factors on child development for children with biological risk. I have studied the impact of parenting attitudes and parenting stress on the development of preterm infants' neurodevelopmental and social outcomes. More recently, I have studied the occurrence of maternal depression in populations of infants who are at biological risk due to prematurity and early regulatory problems.

My research has examined the impact of maternal mental health on the parenting process and child outcomes for children with prenatal exposure to cocaine as part of an NIH-funded multi-site longitudinal study. I have also examined psychobiology in populations of children with autism to assess how social events that differ in their degree and intensity may impact children's behavioral and physiological responses to social interaction.

Currently, my research with pre and postnatal maternal depression examines the role of psychobiological links between SSRI exposure in utero and ongoing maternal depressive symptoms to early and ongoing child outcomes and child psychopathology.

Also, as the Director of Clinical Services for the Center for Children and Families, I am able to examine evidence-based practices for clinical populations from birth to 5 years with both developmental and behavioral difficulties.


The Society for Research in Child Development
The American Psychological Association

Funded Research

Co-Investigator: "Fetal and Neonatal Neurobehavior and Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure" National Institutes of Mental Health 1R01HD072267-01 (20% effort and funding) (Salisbury, PI) $3,373,295 (2/1/2013 - 1/31/2018)

1. Co-Investigator and site Coordinator: "Maternal Lifestyle Study: Data Sharing" National Institute on Drug Abuse 1U10 DA024119-02 (Lester, PI) $108,029 10/31/2011 – 3/31/2012
2. Co-Investigator and site Coordinator: "Maternal Lifestyle Study: Phase V 13 – 15 year Follow-up" NIDA 1U10DA024119-01 (Lester, PI) ) $1,618,964 4/1/05 – 3/31/2012
3. Co-Investigator and Psychologist: "Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and School Aged Outcomes" National Institute on Drug Abuse R01-DA14948-07 (Lester, PI) $1,618,964 9/1/2007-8/31/2012
4. Co-Investigator: "After ASFA: Outcome of the RI Family Treatment Drug Court" Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (Lester, PhD, PI) ) $99,996 11/1/06 – 5/1/2012
5. Co-Investigator: "The Vulnerable Infants Program 2 of Rhode Island (VIP2-RI): Evaluating outcomes of the Rhode Island Family Treatment Drug Court" Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children Youth and Families (Lester, PhD, PI) ) $889,656 09/30/2005 – 09/29/07
6. Co-Investigator: "Vagal Tone and Social Behaviors in Children with Autistic Disorder" National Alliance for Autism Research (Stephen Sheinkopf, PhD, PI) $106,320 7/1/2003 – 06/30/2006
7. Co-Investigator: "Maternal Lifestyle Study 8-11 Year Follow-Up" National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 3-U10-HD27904 (Lester, PI) $2,104,574 4/1/2003- 3/31/2006
8. Co-Investigator: "Maternal Lifestyle Study 4-7 Year Follow-Up" National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 1-U10-HD27904-1 (Lester, PhD, PI) ) $1,422,746 4/1/1998- 3/31/2003
9. Co-Investigator: "Feeding Interventions for Infants with Colic," The Gerber Foundation, (Lester, PhD, PI), $100,000 2/1/1998-1/31/2001

Teaching Experience

I share my commitment to understanding parenting and child development through my teaching of pre and post-doctoral clinical psychologists, medical students and through independent study and research practicums with Brown undergraduates. Clinical training for pre and post-doctoral psychologists encompasses both instruction in differential diagnosis of developmental and behavioral difficulties and evidenced-based treatment for children and families. Clinical training occurs through the Brown Center for Children clinical services at the Center for Children and Families.