VCU Psychology Department

Does forgiving others affect your meaning in life?

Relationships are a vital source of meaning in life. But conflicts are inevitable in every relationship. Might forgiving an offense by your partner increase or restore how meaningful you feel your life is? read more...


How can we track the psychosocial functioning of patients?

Understanding a patient’s psychological profile over time can aid in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment planning. What method can we use to track the psychosocial functioning of patients? read more...


How important are routines for our well-being?

William Blake suggested that we "Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night." How critical is the timing and regularly of our daily activities for our well-being? read more...


Dr. Wendy Kliewer

Professor and Chair (tenured)

Developmental Psychology (primary), Social and Clinical Child/Adolescent Psychology (secondary)


PhD (1989), University of California, Irvine

Contact Information

Phone: 804-828-8089

Office: 806 W Franklin, rm 105


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. 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., & Lepore, S. J. (2015). Exposure to violence, social cognitive processing, and
sleep problems in urban adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44, 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.

Drazdowski, T., Jaggi, L., Borre, A., & Kliewer, W. (2015). Use of prescription drugs and
future delinquency among adolescent offenders.  Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 48, 28-36.

Kaynak, O., Lepore, S. J., Kliewer, W., & Jaggi, L. (2015). Peer victimization and subsequent
disruptive behavior in school: The protective functions of anger regulation coping. Personality and Individual Differences, 73, 1-6.

Zaharakis, N., Taylor, K. A., & Kliewer, W. (2015). What do urban black mothers tell their adolescents about alcohol and other drugs? Journal of Research on Adolescence, 25, 75-80.

Recent Courses
Recent Grants

Project HEART:  Health and Resilience in Teens.  Co-Principal Investigator.  July, 2013 – December, 2014.  VCU, Presidental Research Quest Fund. $50,000.

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.

Violence, drug use, and AIDS in South African Youth: A US/South Africa Research Collaboration. Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator, Sanders-Phillips). April, 2011 – March, 2013. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R21DA030298-01, $341,438.

School-based expressive writing intervention trials for youth exposed to violence. Principal Investigator. June, 2008 – April, 2011. The National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. R01 MH081166.