Meet the Author – Arthur L. Robin, PhD

 

Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
As a high school student, I was curious about what made people act the way they do. As a college student, I became interested in the scientific study of human behavior through applied behavior analysis. I entered psychology in order to do research and further our knowledge about the science of human behavior. During graduate school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, I found that I enjoyed helping people as much, if not more, than doing research, so I trained to be a clinical psychologist. My first job after receiving my doctorate was as an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. I did a lot of research and teaching, but hardly any clinical practice. Something was missing. When I moved to Michigan and joined the staff at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Wayne State University, I had the opportunity to see a wide variety of children with medical illnesses and behavioral/emotional problems. This has proven to be very gratifying, and I have now been at Children’s Hospital for 30 years. I also get to do some research, such as my work with the Parent Adolescent Relationship Questionnaire™ (PARQ™), and a great deal of teaching.

What made you decide initially to develop the PARQ?
I had developed a number of brief measures of family relationships, but they did not provide a comprehensive picture of the parent-adolescent relationship. The clinicians would need to use several measures to get the full picture, and even then, the scores would not be on a common metric. In the early 1980s, I learned about the Marital Satisfaction Inventory, which Dr. Doug Snyder developed as a comprehensive measure of marital interactions. Dr. Snyder was at Wayne State University, so my co-authors and I got to talk with him. I decided to follow his example and develop a multidimensional measure of the parent-teen relationship. In addition, my co-authors, Dr. Tom Koepke and Dr. Ann Moye, needed dissertation topics. We decided to work together and develop the PARQ, which also provided them with dissertation topics.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
We have administered the PARQ in adolescents with spina bifida and with their parents. Some of this data is presented in the PARQ Professional Manual. We found that the adolescents with spina bifida and their parents reported better relationships than even our normative group. This partially replicates other investigator’s research on parent-adolescent relationships for families where the teen has spina bifida. We plan to use it a lot with adolescents who have a variety of chronic illnesses.

What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
I direct a psychology internship at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

How do you spend your free time?
O gauge model railroading and photography are my two hobbies. I like to combine them by taking pictures of my trains and layout, as well as other people’s train layouts. My first non-psychology publication in 35 years was a photograph of my holiday train layout published in the December 2009 issue of Classic Toy Trains magazine!

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