Christopher Flessner

Christopher Flessner

Department of Psychology
Office Location:
Room 217 Kent Hall
Contact Information


Graduate Areas: 

Does Dr. Flessner plan to recruit a doctoral student for the next incoming class?


Child and Adolescent

Research Interests:

My lab, the Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic (PARC), focuses on three primary areas of study. First, we are interested in developing a better understanding of the risk factors (i.e., familial, neurocognitive, etc.) linked to the development and maintenance of anxiety and related problems in kids. We are particularly interested in the development and course of obsessive-compulsive behaviors (OCBs; i.e., obsessions, compulsions, worries, repetitive/ritualistic behaviors, etc.) associated with several psychiatric disorders, particularly OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, grooming conditions (i.e., hair pulling, skin picking), and tic disorders. Second, we are interested in using these data to inform the development of better interventions for these children and their families. Finally, my lab has recently expanded its focus to include examining the relationship between pediatric anxiety symptoms and food allergies as well as ways in which behavioral interventions can be used to reduce risk for the occurrence of allergic reactions and increase the quality of life for youths afflicted with food allergies.

Lab Site: 

Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic (PARC)

Courses Frequently Taught:
  • Quantitative Statistical Analysis I (graduate)
  • Child Psychotherapy
  • Practicum in Diagnostic Interviewing
  • Clinical Practicum Supervision
  • Brennan, E., Luke, A., Murphy, Y.E., Francazio, S., & Flessner, C.A. (in press). Examining the relationship between anxiogenic parenting practices and cognitive flexibility in youth. Behavior Modification: Special Issue on Cognitive and Behavioral Flexibility in Fear and Anxiety Disorders.
  • Murphy, Y.E., Luke, A., Brennan, E., Francazio, S. & Flessner, C.A.(in press). An investigation of executive functioning in pediatric anxiety. Behavior Modification: Special Issue on Cognitive and Behavioral Flexibility in Fear and Anxiety Disorders.
  • Flessner, C.A., Murphy, Y.E., Brennan, E., & D’Auria, A. (2017). The parenting anxious kids rating scale-parent report (PAKRS-PR): Initial scale development and psychometric properties. Submitted to Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 48(4), 651-667.
  • Francazio, S., Flessner, C., Boisseau, T., Sibrava, N., Mancebo, M., Eisen, J., Rasmussen, S. (2016). Parental accommodation predicts symptom severity at long-term follow-up in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(8), 2562-2570.
  • Brennan, E. Francazio, S., Gunstad, J., & Flessner, C.A. (2016). Inhibitory control in pediatric trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder): The importance of controlling for age and symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 47(2), 173-182.
  • Flessner, C.A., Brennan, E., Murphy, Y.E., & Francazio, S. (2016). Impaired executive functioning in pediatric trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder). Depression and Anxiety, 33(3), 219-228.
  • Murphy, Y.E. & Flessner, C.A. (2015) Family functioning in pediatric obsessive compulsive and related disorders. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 54(4), 414-434.
  • Freeman, J., Sapyta, J., Garcia, A., Compton, S., Khanna, M., Flessner, C., Fitzgerald, D., Maurio, C., Dingfelder, R., Benito, K., Curry, J., Foa, E., March, J., Moore, P., & Franklin, M. (2014). Family-based treatment of early childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder: The pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder treatment study for young children (POTS Jr) – A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry, 71(6), 689-698.
  • Flessner, C. A., Freeman, J. B., Sapyta, J., Garcia, A., Franklin, M. E., March, J., & Foa, E. (2011). Predictors of Accommodation in Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(7), 716-725.
  • Flessner, C. A., Allgair, A., Garcia, A., Sapyta, J., Freeman, J., Franklin, M. E., Foa, E., & March, J. (2010). The Impact of Neuropsychological Functioning on Treatment Outcome in Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 27, 365-371



Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2008)


Child, Etiology, Anxiety, OCD, Hair pulling, Treatment