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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

I am a lifespan developmental psychopathologist with interests in researching and preventing extreme psychological suffering. In particular, I seek to understand some of the most vulnerable and misunderstood populations, including those who engage in self-inflicted injury, and those who struggle with personality disorders, substance use, histories of abuse and maltreatment, ongoing stress or trauma, chronic depression, as well as those who have died by suicide. A major theme of my work is understanding ways in which these diverse psychological outcomes are related in terms of biological vulnerabilities, contextual risks, acquired coping strategies, developmental trajectories, and dynamic relationship patterns. In particular, I am interested in understanding the intersection of emotion dysregulation and impulsivity across development, from conception through adulthood. The work in my lab and of my colleagues has begun to elucidate unifying patterns that have improved our understanding of those who are suffering—with implications for intervention and prevention of chronic distress.

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. Currently, I am co-directing an NIMH-funded study of emotion dysregulation among pregnant women and potential epigenetic effects on children. With my collaborators, I also have ongoing research on adolescent depression, adult substance use, genetics of suicide, childhood trauma, personality disorders, sleep, and relationship processes. Almost all of my work involves rich biological and contextual measures (e.g., psychophysiological methods, interpersonal dynamics), with the goal of promoting a nuanced understanding of risk and resilience. The psychological conditions I study 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 offers excellent statistical and methodological training. The University has fMRI facilities and a top genetics department. I personally provide didactic training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a highly effective intervention for reducing emotion dysregulation, substance use, personality disorder traits, 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.

I am intending to accept a graduate student in 2019 and I encourage interested students to review the work on my ResearchGate page, which I update regularly.


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., Butner, J., Wiltshire, T., Munion, A. K., Yaptangco, M. & Beauchaine, T. P. (2017). Evaluating emotional and biological sensitivity to maternal behavior among depressed and self-injuring adolescent girls using nonlinear dynamics. Clinical Psychological Science, 5, 272-285. Download

Ostlund, B. D., Conradt, E., Crowell, S. E., Tyrka, A. R., Marsit, C. J., & Lester, B. M. (2016). Prenatal stress, fearfulness, and the epigenome: Exploratory analysis of sex differences in DNA methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10, 147-155. Download

Crowell, S. E. & Kaufman, E. A. (2016). Borderline personality disorder and the emerging field of developmental neuroscience. Personality Disorders: Theory Research and Treatment, 7, 324-333. Download

Crowell, S. E., Puzia, M. E.,  & Yaptangco, M. (2015). The ontogeny of chronic distress: Emotion dysregulation across the life span and its implications for psychological and physical health. Current Opinion in Psychology, 3, 91-99. Download

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

Kaufman, E. A., Xia, M., Fosco, G., Yaptangco, M., *Skidmore, C. R., & Crowell, S. E. (2016). The Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale Short Form (DERS-SF): Validation and replication in adolescent and adult samples. Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 38, 443-455. Download

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

Parisa Kaliush
Robert Vlisides-Henry

My Former Graduate Students

Mona Yaptangco
Erin Kaufman

Last Updated: 5/23/18