As a developmental psychopathologist, my research focuses on the developmental processes that contribute to risk or resilience across the lifespan. I have long-standing interests in understanding and ameliorating the effects of trauma and violence on child development and family processes, including studies of interparental conflict, family violence, maltreatment, parent-child discord, and other forms of trauma exposure. My larger program of research has included investigations of the ways in which risk factors affect relationships among family members, such as in the study of parent-child boundary dissolution, as well as implications of these family processes for youths' own intimate relationships, such as in the study of risk and protective processes in the intersections among family dynamics, personality, and romantic relationships in adolescence and emerging adulthood. I also have an abiding interest in the study of resilience--uncovering the protective factors that allow children to overcome the risks associated with family stress and trauma will help us to design intervention and prevention programs that are developmentally sensitive and effective in real-world settings.
The main focus of my lab's current program of research concerns the quest to better understand the mechanisms accounting for the link between childhood trauma and adolescent delinquency. We have received a grant from the National Institute of Justice for a 4-year (Jan 2015 – Dec 2019) longitudinal study investigating the emotional, cognitive, interpersonal, and psychophysiological mechanisms underlying the link between various forms of trauma exposure and youth's involvement in the juvenile justice system. This project provides many opportunities for students to be involved in data collection, analyses, and publications.
Opportunities For Students
I maintain an active lab group and involve students in all phases and aspects of my research. Undergraduates wishing to join our lab are welcome to complete an application, available on our lab webpage (see link above).
I will not be recruiting graduate students this year.
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology, University of Colorado Health Sciences
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, University of California at Berkeley (1989)
Internship in Clinical Psychology, Stanford University Dept. of Psychiatry and Human Development (1988)
B.A. in Psychology, University of California at Irvine (1982)
Bennett, D. C., & Kerig, P. K. (2014). Investigating the construct of trauma-related acquired callousness among juvenile justice-involved youth: Differences in emotion processing. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 27(4), 415-422. doi: 10.1002/jts.21931
Kerig, P. K. (2014). For better or worse: Intimate relationships as sources of risk or resilience for girls' delinquency. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(1), 1-11.
Kerig, P. K. (2017). Posttraumatic stress disorder in childhood and adolescence: A developmental psychopathology perspective. New York: Momentum Press. ISBN-13: 978-1-60650-929-6
Kerig, P. K. (2019). Linking childhood trauma exposure to adolescent justice involvement: The concept of posttraumatic risk-seeking. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. doi:10.1111/cpsp.12280
Kerig, P. K., & Becker, S. P. (2010). From internalizing to externalizing: Theoretical models of the processes linking PTSD to juvenile delinquency. In S. J. Egan (Ed.), Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Causes, symptoms and treatment (pp. 33-78). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers. Download
Kerig, P. K., Bennett, D. C., Thompson, M., & Becker, S. P. (2012). 'Nothing really matters': Emotional numbing as a link between trauma exposure and callousness in delinquent youth. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 1/8. doi: 10.1002/jts.21700
Kerig, P. K., Chaplo, S. D., Bennett, D. C., & Modrowski, C. (2016). Harm as harm: Gang membership, perpetration trauma, and posttraumatic stress symptoms among youth in the juvenile justice system. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43(5), 635-652. doi: 10.1177/0093854815607307
Kerig, P. K., Ludlow, A., & Wenar, C. (in press). Developmental psychopathology: From infancy through adolescence (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Kerig, P. K., & Modrowski, C. A. (2018). Testing gender-differentiated models of the mechanisms linking polyvictimization and youth offending: Numbing and callousness versus dissociation and borderline traits. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 19(3), 347-361. https://doi.org/10.1080/15299732.2018.1441355
My Current Graduate Students