Maria Duarte

Mentor: Dr. Joni Splett
College of Education
"I wanted to have an opportunity to get involved within the psychology department to further my interests in this area. I decided to get involved with research because I thought it was a great way to get exposure to different topics that have been nationally recognized as social issues for years. I reached out to different faculty members and I was able to get in contact with Dr. Splett. We have been working together since August 2015 and decided to build on this new project together."





Research Interests

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology

Academic Awards

  • Emerging Scholars Program 2015-2016
  • University Scholars Program 2015
  • Take Stock in Children Scholarship 2014



  • MentorUF
  • BabyGator

Hobbies and Interests

  • Traveling and exploring new places
  • Playing/watching soccer
  • Spending time with family and friends/li>
  • Working out

Research Description

Increased Use of Psychotropic Medication by Youth
Over the past decade, the use of psychotropic medication by youth has drastically increased. Previous literature suggests this is due to limited access to non-pharmacological treatments, demand for quick and affordable treatments, limited treatment options for vulnerable populations, and inadequate provider time and reimbursement for managing behavioral problems (Harrison, Cluxton-Keller & Gross, 2012). However, current evidence is outdated, limited to specific conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety) or specific populations (e.g., ethnicity/race or students in special education) (Schraufnagel, Wagner, Miranda, & Roy-Byrne, 2006; Sullivan & Sadeh, 2015). The goal of this study is to address this gap by examining the prevalence and associated treatment and demographic trends of psychotropic medication use in a sample of youth already accessing non-pharmacological, therapeutic interventions. Findings will inform practice guidelines and advance research by identifying prescription trends in a diverse sample of youth already accessing non-pharmacological interventions.