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Child Clinical Psychology

About the Child Clinical Program

The field of Child Clinical 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  and developmental psychologists to fill clinical, teaching, and research positions is growing, as is the amount of research funding. This is an opportune time to gain expertise in this field.

Faculty in the Child Clinical and Developmental areas work together to train students who are in either the Child Clinical or Developmental programs.  Graduate students can obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology (child clinical students) 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

PhD Training

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

    • Students in the Child Clinical training program can work with either a Child Clinical or Developmental faculty member.

    • During the first two years the student takes graduate courses that cover developmental (cognitive development, social development) and/or child clinical research (child 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

    • During regularly scheduled meetings of the “child brownbag,” graduate students and faculty present research findings or discuss state of the art research in developmental psychology. Many students and faculty also participate in other departmental brownbags such as the cognitive or quantitative brownbag.

    • There are several ongoing research collaborations among faculty in the Child and Adolescent psychology program. Many faculty and students also have active research collaborations with other faculty at the local (e.g. Akron Children’s Hospital, 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) level. These collaborations provide opportunities for students to get involved in research and develop a network of professional relationships.

    • Graduate students are actively involved in faculty research and generally involved in publications and conference presentations. Students are actively encouraged to develop their own research program, and attend the research conferences that are sponsored by these organizations (e.g. American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, Midwestern Psychological Association, National Council on Family Relations, Psychonomics, National Latino Psychological Association, National Multicultural Conference and Summit, Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Society for Pediatric Psychology, Society for Research in Child Development, Society for Research on Adolescence).

  • Clinical Training: Students complete the course requirements for the clinical training program, including courses that focus specifically on child clinical psychology (child psychopathology, child assessment, child psychotherapy, family therapy). Students have the opportunity to gain experience in evidence-based treatment (e.g. Triple P) and participate in a number of clinical practica:

    • 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, 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)
Core Faculty

Child Clinical Faculty

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

Dr. Christopher A. Flessner - Risk factors relevant to the development, maintenance, and treatment of child anxiety and related 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 - Racial identity, peer relationships, and mental health in African-American adolescents.

Dr. Amy Sato - The role of stress and family influences in the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of pediatric health conditions (e.g., obesity).

Dr. Beth Wildman - Identification and management of child mental health problems within primary health care settings; pediatric psychology.

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. Janis Crowther (Adult Psychopathology): Sociocultural and familial factors that increase risk for body image disturbance and maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviors.
  • 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, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital
  • Laura Brumariu, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
  • Robert Dempster, Ph.D. - Nationwide 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. - Assistant Professor, College of Wooster
  • Elissa Lampe-Digglen, Ph.D. - Akron Children's Hospital
  • Tracy Love Masterson, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, John Carroll University
  • Andrea Mata, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Findlay University
  • Marsheena Murray, Ph.D. - Psychologist, Southeastern Louisiana Hospital
  • Nicole Nugent, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Research, Brown University
  • Sarah Ostroski, Ph.D. - Director of Research, 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
  • Abigail Tissot-Wanchick, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Research, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Interested in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology at Kent State University?

If you are considering applying to our graduate program in child clinical psychology and would like to learn more about these programs, feel free to contact Dr. Beth Wildman.

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