The field of Clinical Child Psychology is devoted to understanding basic processes of change, in particular, how biological and experiential factors cause children’s social, emotional, and cognitive functioning to change as they grow older. The field grew out of an interest in understanding how childhood experiences can shape subsequent development. The area of child and adolescent psychology is rapidly growing. The demand for child clinical, developmental, and pediatric (child-health) psychologists to fill clinical, teaching, and research positions is growing. This is an opportune time to gain expertise in this field.

Faculty in the Clinical Child and Developmental areas work together to train students who are in either the Clinical Child or Developmental programs.  Graduate students can obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Child Psychology or Experimental Psychology (developmental students).  Regardless of training area, the research focus is interdisciplinary and students are expected to gain a thorough understanding in both normative and atypical development.

Faculty research in the child and adolescent psychology area at Kent State has four central foci:

  • Cognitive development
  • Developmental Psychopathology
  • Development in the Context of Close Relationships
  • Pediatric Psychology


  • Research Training. Research training is designed to develop the student into a highly skilled clinical child scientist.

    • Students in the Clinical training program can work with either a Child Clinical or Developmental faculty member. Across faculty members there is a strong track-record of extramural funding (e.g., NICHD, NIH)
    • During the first two years the student takes graduate courses that cover developmental (cognitive development, social development) and/or clinical child research (developmental psychopathology, pediatric psychology). In addition, the student gains expertise in ethnic minority and cultural issues in development and adaptation as well as in both statistics and research methods. Those who want to further develop their quantitative skills have the opportunity to participate in the quantitative psychology minor
    • There are several ongoing research collaborations among faculty in the Clinical Child and Developmental Psychology programs. Many faculty and students also have active research collaborations with other faculty and staff at local community agencies as well as universities around the country (e.g. Akron Children’s Hospital (e.g. Healthy Weight Clinic, Sickle Cell Program and Primary Care practices) Akron Public Schools, Upward Bound, Community Youth Organizations, Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence, MetroHealth Medical Center) and national (e.g. University of Minnesota, Georgia Tech University, Brown Medical School, Harvard Medical School, and UCLA) . These collaborations provide opportunities for students to get involved in research and develop a network of professional relationships. Faculty are involved in research with diverse populations, including Black and Latino individuals and families and youth and families with low-income.
    • Graduate students are actively involved in faculty research, research, including the opportunity to publish peer-reviewed manuscripts and present at regional, national, and international conferences. Students are actively encouraged to develop their own research program, and attend national and international research conferences where they can develop a network of professional relationships that is likely to help when applying for internships, post doctoral training and academic/clinical positions.  Examples of conferences where faculty and students present are:  American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, National Multicultural Conference and Summit, Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Society for Pediatric Psychology, Society for Research in Child Development, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Society for Research on Adolescence).
    • Clinical Training: Students complete the course requirements for the clinical training program, including courses that focus specifically on clinical child psychology (developmental psychopathology, child assessment, child psychotherapy, pediatric psychology). Students have the opportunity to gain experience in evidence-based treatment (e.g. Coping CAT/CAT Project, Habit Reversal Training, Exposure with Response Prevention, Behavioral Parent Training) and participate in a number of clinical practica both within the department and in the community.
      • 2nd year: General (adult) practicum in the Psychological Clinic.
      • 3rd year: Child/family practicum. This practicum includes assessment and intervention with children, adolescents, and their families.
      • 4th year: Clinical placement in a setting specialized in the assessment and treatment of children and families (e.g. mental health center, adolescent partial hospital program, medical/pediatric setting).
      • 5th year: Clinical internship.
    • Teaching. Students are encouraged to become involved in undergraduate teaching. During the beginning of the 3rd year, the student has the opportunity to take a teaching seminar and, with the supervision of a faculty member, teach one or several undergraduate courses (e.g. child psychology, social and personality development, cognitive development, adolescent psychology)


Clinical Child Faculty

Dr. Jeffrey Ciesla - The processes and course of depressive disorders.

Dr. Christopher A. Flessner - Risk factors implicated in the onset, course, and treatment of child anxiety and related disorders, particularly OCD, body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), generalized anxiety disorder, and tic disorders.

Dr. Josefina Grau - Parent-child relationships and children's social and emotional development, with an emphasis on cultural and contextual factors.

Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett - Culturally-relevant anxiety interventions, the acting white accusation and ethnic racial identity,  mobile applications for minorities  in community settings.

Dr. Amy Sato - Pediatric obesity and weight management, including the influences of family and stress; pediatric psychology.

Dr. Beth Wildman - Primary Care pediatrician and management of child behavioral concerns; adherence to treatment regimen in chronic diseases; physician-patient/parent communication.

Developmental Faculty

Dr. Kathryn Kerns - Children's attachments to parents and their implications of for peer relationships and emotional development.

Dr. William Merriman - Language acquisition and metacognition in young children.

Dr. Manfred van Dulmen - Adolescent and young adult romantic relationships, aggression, suicide, developmental methodology.

Faculty with Related Interests
  • Dr. Yossi Ben-Porath (Assessment): MMPI-2 and MMPI-A applications in a variety of settings (clinical, correctional, forensic, and pre-employment screening) and computerized adaptive testing with the MMPI instruments.
  • Dr. Douglas Delahanty (Health): Psychobiological predictors and correlates of PTSD in child trauma victims.
  • Dr. Maria Zaragoza - (Cognitive): Factors that affect young children's eyewitness memory.


  • Faculty and students have access to recently renovated lab space in the department.
  • The research labs at KSU include state of the art equipment (e.g., observational, Podcasting), software (e.g., Direct RT, Mplus), and technology for delivering interventions.
  • Faculty and graduate students actively collaborate with professionals at Akron Children's Hospital and other local hospitals.  Physicians from local hospitals also can serve on thesis and doctoral committees.
  • Several faculty work with large-scale existing data sets including the NICHD Child Care Study and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Recent Clinical Child Ph.D.’s
  • Meghan Barlow, Ph.D. - Psychologist, Rocky River, OH
  • Laura Brumariu, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
  • Patricia Castellanos, Ph.D. – Senior Clinical Psychologist, Primary Care Behavioral Health, Hennepin County Medical Center
  • Nicole Dempster, Ph.D. – Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Robert Dempster, Ph.D. - Nationwide Children's Hospital
  • Petra Duran, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics – Psychology Section, Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital
  • Christina Golden, Ph.D. - NIMH
  • Elizabeth Goncy, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Shanna Guilfoyle, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Cincinnati Children's Medical Center
  • Bryan Karazsia, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, College of Wooster
  • Tracy Love Masterson, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, John Carroll University
  • Andrea Mata, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Findlay University
  • Marsheena Murray, Ph.D. - Psychologist, MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Nicole Nugent, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Research, Brown University
  • Sarah Ostroski, Ph.D. - Research Program Director, NeuroDevelopmental Science Center, Akron Children's Hospital
  • Keri Pinna, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
  • Justin Qualttelbaum, Ph.D. - Psychologist, Charleston VA
  • Susaye Rattigan, Ph.D. - Regional Dean, International University of the Caribbean
  • Andrew Schlegelmilch, Ph.D. - Psychologist, Orion Academy
  • Kamaldeep Singh, Ph.D. – Psychologist
  • Erin Smith, Ph.D. – Department of Psychology, Susquehana University
  • Abigail Tissot-Wanchick, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Research, Cincinnati