Dr. Wendy Kliewer

Dr. Wendy Kliewer

Professor and Chair
Developmental Psychology
806 W Franklin, rm 105
(804) 828-8089

Professor and Chair (tenured)
Developmental Psychology (primary), Social and Clinical Child/Adolescent Psychology (secondary)
Co-leader, Culture, Race and Health Transdisciplinary iCubed Core
Associate Coordinator, Humphrey Fellowship Program
PhD (1989), University of California, Irvine

Web site: Dr. Kliewer's Prevention Research Lab

Research Interests

My research centers on the broad theme of risk and resilience, with much of my work specifically examining substance use in early, middle, or late adolescence as an outcome. I am interested in the effects of cumulative risk – the piling up of sociodemographic, psychosocial, and environmental stressors – and adjustment across a broad array of domains including academic, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physiological functioning. Currently, I co-lead three projects:  Project CARE – a study of risk and resilience in South African youth (located in Durban, South Africa); Project HEART – Health and Resilience in Teens – focused on low-income African American adolescents and their mothers in Richmond; and the Myanmar Youth Health Study – a study of risk and protective factors for teen substance use in Myanmar. I am also a co-investigator on the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. Among protective factors, I have a particular interest in the role of the family in mitigating risk. I am committed to interdisciplinary, cross-cultural research, as well as to training the next generation of scholars to continue to do research that matters.

Selected Publications

Kliewer, W., Riley, T., Zaharakis, N., Borre, A., Drazdowski, T. K., & Jäggi, L. (in press). Emotion dysregulation, anticipatory cortisol, and substance use in urban adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences.
Kliewer, W. (2016). Victimization and biological stress responses in urban adolescents: Emotion regulation as a moderator. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 451812-1823.
Kliewer, W., Borre, A., Wright, A., Jäggi, L., Drazdowski, T., & Zaharakis, N. (2016). Parental emotional competence and parenting in low-income families with adolescents. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 33-42.
Kliewer, W., & Lepore, S. J. (2015). Exposure to violence, social cognitive processing, and sleep problems in urban adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence44, 507-517.
Razali, M., & Kliewer, W. (2015). Validation of the Communities that Care measure adapted for use with adolescents and young adults in Malaysia. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation, 4, 267-280.

Recent Courses

  • Research Internship, undergraduate level
  • Developmental Research Methods, graduate level

Recent Grants

Adolescent Brian Cognitive Development Study. Co-Investigator (Site Principal Investigators, Bjork and Neale). September 2015-May 2020. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). 1U01DA041120, $2,641,542.
Virginia Commonwealth University – Center for Youth Violence Prevention. Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator, Farrell). September, 2010 – September, 2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1U01CE001956-01, $6,500,000.
Can Parents Help Prevent Youth Tobacco Use? An Evaluation of Two Evidence-Based Parenting Programs. Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator, Corona). July, 2012 – June, 2015.  Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. $449,973.


  • VCU College of Humanities and Sciences Distinguished Mentoring Award, 2017
  • VCU Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME), 2017
  • VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) Faculty Mentor Award, 2016

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