The overarching goal of Dr. Hepworth's research agenda is to increase the reach and uptake of evidence-based parenting information that aims to improve child health during infancy and early childhood. In particular, Dr. Hepworth is focused on understanding the development of parents' child feeding behaviors (i.e. what and how parents feed their children) to identify novel ways to modify parents' information exposure and prevent feeding behaviors that increase childhood obesity risk.
Dr. Hepworth received BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University. She holds graduate minors in Information Sciences and Technology and Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Hepworth's master's research focused on portrayals of infant and child feeding behavior on food blogs written by mothers of preschool-aged children. Her dissertation research examined factors associated with first-time parents' satisfaction with, and use of, information about infant feeding obtained from online and in-person information channels (e.g., websites, books, physicians, family, social media).
In her role as a postdoctoral fellow in community-based early childhood prevention research at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Dr. Hepworth (mentored by Dr. Lisa Berlin) is pursuing training in intervention research that aims to decrease health disparities. In the next phase of her research, Dr. Hepworth plans to examine how parents' information behavior (i.e. patterns of information seeking and use) contributes to widening racial and economic disparities in childhood obesity. Dr. Hepworth's teaching interests include: Childhood obesity; Introductory research methods; Prevention and intervention theory and research; and special topics in social/digital media, mHealth/eHealth, and marketing research.
Note: Publications prior to 2016 are under the name Allison E. Doub
- Doub, A. E., Small, M. L., & Birch, L. L. (2016). A call for research exploring social media influences on mothers' child feeding practices and childhood obesity risk. Appetite, 99, 298-305. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26767614
- Doub, A. E., Small, M. L., & Birch, L. L. (2016). An exploratory analysis of child feeding beliefs and behaviors included in food blogs written by mothers of preschool-aged children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 48(2), 93-103.e1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26601887/
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (2014-2018)
- United States Department of Agriculture Childhood Obesity Prevention Training Program and seed funding (2012-2018)
- Ruth W. Ayres-Givens Scholarship for innovative research with social impact goals, College of Health and Human Development, Penn State University (2016)