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Sheila Crowell, Ph.D.

Sheila Crowell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology

Curriculum Vitae
DASH Collaborative

Program for Underrepresented and Disadvantaged Scholars

Contact Information

Office: 1323 BEHS

Research Interests

My research is focused on mechanisms underlying risk for suicide and severe psychopathology among intentionally self-injuring adolescents. I am particularly interested in researching biological vulnerabilities for emotion dysregulation and impulsivity and understanding how these vulnerabilities interact with potentiating environmental experiences across development. Adolescent self-injurious behavior is a risk factor for eventual suicide and a potential precursor to severe adult psychopathology, including borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and treatment-resistant depression. Among these possible outcomes, my interests lie in elucidating developmental precursors to borderline personality disorder and suicide and in the prevention of both conditions. My research is unique in that it brings a developmental psychopathology approach to the literature on BPD and suicide, including an exploration of both biological vulnerabilities and psychosocial risks. Consistent with emerging developmental psychopathology research, I am most interested in understanding the transactions between biology and experience rather than in either of these main effects alone.
* Please contact Dr. Crowell if you are interested in learning more about research-based DBT/CBT treatment options for adolescents or adults in Salt Lake City.

Opportunities For Students

Students under my training will enjoy a wide range of opportunities and will be well prepared as both scientific researchers and clinicians. My research is conducted with highly complicated individuals, many of whom are facing their most difficult life challenges. Thus, clinical skills are developed in every interaction and scientific endeavors have meaningful implications for prevention and treatment. Self-injury and borderline personality disorder affect individuals from all backgrounds, although the burden is most often borne by those with few available resources for treatment. Students who are interested in examining issues of diversity, disempowerment, and oppression will find the Department of Psychology to be an engaging environment for this line of research. Those students who are eager to pursue research-oriented academic careers will fit particularly well in the Department of Psychology and the University of Utah. The department houses several state-of-the-art psychophysiological laboratories and the University has fMRI facilities and a top genetics department. I offer didactic training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a highly effective intervention for reducing self-injury and risk for suicide. I received my DBT training directly from Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., the treatment developer. Salt Lake City is a metropolitan hub of the West with access to abundant outdoor recreation activities, an ideal setting to balance intellectual and personal development.


Ph.D., University of Washington (Child Clinical Psychology, 2009)
M.A., University of California, Los Angeles (Applied Linguistics, 2002)
B.A. Cum Laude, Boise State University (Spanish, 1999)

See below for a select number of publications. View my profile at for full-text access to all of my papers.
Selected Publications

Crowell, S. E., Baucom, B. R., McCauley, E., Potapova, N. V., Fitelson, M., Barth, H., Smith, C. J., & Beauchaine, T. P. (2013). Mechanisms of contextual risk for adolescent self-injury: Invalidation and conflict escalation in mother-child interactions. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., Hsiao, R. C., *Vasilev, C. A., *Yaptangco, M., Linehan, M. M. & McCauley, E. (2012). Differentiating adolescent self-injury from depression: Implications for borderline personality development. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 45-57. Download

Hughes, A. E., Crowell, S. E., *Uyeji, L., & Coan, J. A. (2012). A developmental neuroscience of borderline pathology: Emotion dysregulation and social baseline theory. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 21-33. Download

Beauchaine, T. P., Klein, D. N., Crowell, S. E., Derbidge, C., & Gatzke-Kopp, L. M. (2009). Multifinality in the development of personality disorders: A Biology * Sex * Environment interaction model of antisocial and borderline traits. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 735-770. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., & Linehan, M. (2009). A biosocial developmental model of borderline personality: Elaborating and extending Linehan's theory. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 495-510. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., McCauley, E., Smith, C. J., Vasilev, C. A., & Stevens, A. L. (2008). Parent-child interactions, peripheral serotonin, and self-inflicted injury in adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 15-21. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., McCauley, E., Smith, C., Stevens, A. L., & Sylvers, P. D. (2005). Psychological, physiological, and serotonergic correlates of parasuicidal behavior among adolescent girls. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 1105-1127. Download

My Current Graduate Students

Chloe Skidmore
Mona Dryjski
Erin Kaufman

Last Updated: 1/5/18