Kathryn A. Kerns

Kathryn A. Kerns

Department of Psychology
Professor Emeritus
Office Location:
Room 305 Kent Hall
Contact Information


Research Area:

Psychological Science - Developmental

Research Interests:

My research explores how and why children’s relationships with attachment figures and the parenting children experience are related to 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 children can compensate for inadequate relationships with parents and peers.


  • Bosmans, G.,  & Kerns, K. A. (Eds). (2015). Attachment in middle childhood: Theoretical advances and new directions in an emerging field. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  • Kerns, K. A., Mathews, B. L., Koehn, A. J. Williams, C. T., & Siener-Ciesla, S. (2015).  Assessing both safe haven and secure base support in parent-child relationships. Attachment and Human Development, 17, 337 - 353.

  • Kerns, K. A., & Brumariu, L. E. (2016).  Attachment in middle childhood.  In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of Attachment (3rd edition) (pp. 349 - 365). N.Y.: Guilford.

  • Koehn, A. J., & Kerns, K. A. (2016).  The supervision partnership as a phase of attachment. Journal of Early Adolescence, 36, 961 - 988.

  •  Mathews, B. L., Koehn, A. J., Abtahi, M. M., & Kerns, K.A. (2016). Emotional competence and anxiety in childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic review.  Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 19, 162 - 184.

  • Parrigon, K. S., & Kerns, K.A. (2016).  Family processes in child anxiety: The long-term impact of fathers and mothers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 1253 - 1266.

  • Cooke, J. E., Stuart-Parrigon, K. L., Movahed-Abtahi, M., Koehn, A. J., & Kerns, K. A. (2016). Children’s emotion understanding and mother-child attachment: A meta-analysis.  Emotion, 16, 1102 - 1106. 

  • Kerns, K. A., Koehn, A. J., van Dulmen, M. H. M., Stuart-Parrigon, K. L., & Coifman, K. G. (2017).  Preadolescents’ relationships with pet dogs: Relationship continuity and associations with adjustment. Applied Developmental Science, 21, 67 - 80.

  • Movahed-Abtahi, M., & Kerns, K. A. (2017).  Attachment and emotion regulation in middle childhood: Changes in affect and vagal tone during a social stress task. Attachment and Human Development, 19, 221 - 242.

  • Kerns, K. A., Stuart-Parrigon, K. L., Coifman, K. G., van Dulmen, M. H. M., & Koehn, A. J. (2018).  Pet Dogs: Does their presence influence preadolescents’ emotional responses to a social stressor? Social Development, 27, 34 - 44. 

  • Koehn, A. J., & Kerns, K. A. (2018).  Parent-child attachment: Meta-analysis of associations with parenting behaviors in middle childhood and adolescence. Attachment and Human Development, 20, 378 - 405.

  • Brumariu, L.E., Giuseppone, K. R., Kerns, K. A. Van de Walle, M., Bureau, J-F., Bosmans,  G.& Lyons-Ruth, K. (2018). Middle Childhood Attachment Strategies: Validation of a behavioral measure. Attachment & Human Development, 20, 491 - 513.

  • Brumariu, L. E., Madigan, S., Giussepone, K. R., Movahed Abtahi, M., & Kerns, K. A. (2018). The Security Scale as a Measure of Attachment: Meta-analytic Evidence of Validity  Attachment & Human Development, 20, 600 - 625.

  •  Cooke, J.E., Kochendorfer, L. B., Stuart-Parrigon, K. L., Koehn, A. J., & Kerns, K. A.  (in press).  Parent-Child Attachment and Children's Experience and Regulation of Emotion: A meta-analytic review.  Emotion.                                 


Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook (1987)


Parent-Child Relationships, Parent-Child Attachment, Emotion Regulation, Anxiety, Peer Relationships, cultural differences in parent-child relationships, attachment, Parenting


Research Institutes and Initiatives

Global Understanding Research Initiative