Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Kliewer

Developmental Psychology
(804) 828-8089

Professor (tenured)
Co-Leader, Culture, Race and Health Transdisciplinary iCubed Core
Associate Coordinator, Humphrey Fellowship Program

Ph.D. (1989), University of California, Irvine

Doctoral Program Affiliations

Primary: Developmental Psychology
Secondary: Social Psychology and Clinical Psychology


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.

Select 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, 45, 1812-1823.
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

Amount: $2,641,542
Role: Co-Investigator (Site Principal Investigators: Bjork and Neale)
Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse
Period: 9/2015 – 5/2020
Number: 1U01DA041120

Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Youth Violence Prevention

Amount: $6,500,000
Role: Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Farrell)
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Period: 9/2010 – 9/2015
Number: 1U01CE001956-01

Can Parents Help Prevent Youth Tobacco Use? An Evaluation of Two Evidence-Based Parenting Programs

Amount: $449,973
Role: Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Corona)
Source: Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth
Period: 7/2012 – 6/2015

Recent Awards

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

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