Education: Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook (1987)
Research Area: Experimental - Developmental
My research explores how and why childrenâ€™s relationships with attachment figures influence their social and emotional development (e.g., emotion regulation, anxiety, peer relationships), with a focus on children 9-14 years old. A specific focus of recent work is developing and testing models which can help us understand how attachment, in combination with other risk and protective factors, may predict the development of anxiety symptoms. I am also interested in questions regarding the nature of attachment (e.g., which social partners can function as attachment figures?) and measurement work on the best approaches to assessing attachment in middle childhood. A new direction in research is exploring children's relationships with pets, and whether they can compensate for inadequate relationships with parents and peers.
Courses Frequently Taught
Kerns, K.A. (2008). Attachment in middle childhood. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of Attachment (2nd edition) (pp. 366 - 382). N.Y.: Guilford.
Seibert, A.C., & Kerns, K.A. (2009). Attachment figures in middle childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33, 347 - 355.
Brumariu, L.E., & Kerns, K.A. (2010). Parent-child attachment and internalizing symptomatology in childhood and adolescence: A review of empirical findings and future directions. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 177-203.
Brumariu, L. E., & Kerns, K. A. (2010). Mother-child attachment patterns and different types of anxiety symptoms: Is there specificity of relations? Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 41, 663-674.
Kerns, K. A., Siener, S., & Brumariu, L. E. (2011). Mother-child relationships, family context, and child characteristics as predictors of anxiety symptoms in middle childhood. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 593-604.
Kerns, K. A., Brumariu, L. E., & Seibert, A. C. (2011). Multi-method assessment of mother-child attachment: Links to parenting and child depressive symptoms in middle childhood. Attachment and Human Development, 13, 315-333.
Brumariu, L.E., Kerns, K.A., & Seibert, A.C. (2012). Mother-child attachment, emotion regulation, and anxiety symptoms in middle childhood. Personal Relationships, 19, 569-585.
West, K., Mathews, B., & Kerns, K.A. (2013). Mother-child attachment and cognitive performance in middle childhood: Am examination of mediating mechanisms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28, 259-270.
Abraham, M.M., & Kerns, K.A. (in press). Positive and negative emotions and coping as mediators of the link between mother-child attachment and peer relationships. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly.
Brumariu, L.E., & Kerns, K.A., (in press). Pathways to anxiety: Contributions of attachment history, temperament, peer competence, and ability to manage intense emotions. Child Psychiatry and Human Development.