Field Posts #1 What is the MLS Study?

            I was excited when I checked the Psychology Student Newsletter and discovered that the MLS Lab was looking for volunteers to intern over the Summer. I have been very interested in work around addiction and trauma, it’s the reason why I came to the University of Michigan. I would have applied sooner for this exact position but I thought I was taking Summer classes, which wound up falling through over financial restrictions. Naturally, I was thrilled to be hired as an intern for this study. I feel lucky to be here at the University of Michigan where there are many ways for me to learn both in the class room and beyond.
        This is my first Summer in Ann Arbor following my first semester at the University. I’m an older, non traditional student who has had some life experience and this kind of research really resonates with me. I’m very passionate about the subject of developmental and complex trauma which is so often present amongst the complicated family dynamics found in addiction. It is amazing to be at a University where many researchers are doing cutting edge work.
        The MLS study has spanned generations gathering significant evidence so we can start changing our current views, definitions and treatments for alcoholism/drug addiction. The application of the findings from the study may help identify factors that could allow mental health care professionals to start treating at risk children years before they ever pick up their first drink or use drugs. The data from this study could lead to a preventive approach which could facilitate improved outcomes for those who suffer from addictions. Imagine, being treated for an addiction so you never have to develop one!
        I am excited and honored to do my part in the study. My job right now is data entry. It may sound boring but it isn’t. I’m learning so much just by being exposed to the collection of data, which at this point in the research paints a fairly comprehensive view. All that I’m being exposed to makes me even more curious about the differences of developmental trauma according to its cause and how one separates out a possible genetic tendency toward addiction from the environmental impact of being raised in a family where it is present. The MLS study has attempted to understand all of that. It has looked at the individual factors that are a present in alcoholism/drug addiction and then arranged them into a synergistic picture of the illness as a whole.
        I’m especially excited to be a part of research in which I can anticipate the direct improvements it could have on the lives of a great many people. After decades of this study collecting evidence, I get the enormous privilege to stand at the culmination of all the hard work, dedication and efforts of the researchers who have come before me. Being a part of the MLS study inspires awe within me and a great sense of humility for my own tiny contribution.

Kelly L

Psychology Major.

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