Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Kliewer

Developmental Psychology
808 W Franklin, rm 304
(804) 828-8066

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: Health PsychologySocial 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 also am a co-investigator on the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (CSTP), a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded effort to provide tools that can be used by the FDA to guide tobacco product regulation development, and am an Associate Coordinator of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program, a Fulbright exchange activity. 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

Wright, A.W., Salifu Yendork, J., & Kliewer, W. (2018). Patterns of Spiritual Connectedness during Adolescence: Links to Coping and Adjustment in Low-Income Urban Youth.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-018-0886-6  

Kliewer, W., & Parham, B.(2018). Resilience Against Marijuana Use Initiation in Low-Income African American Youth. Addictive Behaviors. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.038

Wan, N., Kliewer, W., & Sosnowski, D. (2018). Sex Differences in Risk for Substance Use among High School Students in Myanmar.  International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ipp0000093    

Kliewer, W., Salifu Yendork, J., Wright, A.W., & Pillay, B.J. (2018). Adjustment Profiles of Low-Income Caregivers from the United States and South Africa: Contrasts and Commonalities. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27,522-534. DOI 10.1007/s10826-017-0907-1

Kliewer, W., Pillay, B.J., Swain, K., Rawatlal, N., Borre, A., Naidu, T., Pillay, L., Govender, T., Geils, C., Jäggi, L., Drazdowski, T.K., Wright, A.W., & Vawda, N. (2017). Cumulative Risk, Emotion Dysregulation, and Adjustment in South African Youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies,26, 1768–1779. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-017-0708-6 

Kliewer, W., & Robins, J.. (2017). Cumulative risk and physiological stress responses in African American adolescents. Biological Research for Nursing, 19, 428-439.  DOI.org/10.1177/1099800417702742

Recent Courses

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

Recent Grants

Center for the Study of Tobacco Products

Amount: $19,775,808
Role: Co-Investigator
Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse
Period: 9/1/2018 - 8/31/2023
Number: 2U54DA036105-06

Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship Program

Role: Associate Coordinator
Source: United States Department of State
Period: 7/1/16 – 6/30/21

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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