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Profiles Detail

Kathryn A. Kerns


Education: Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook (1987)

Research Area: Experimental - Developmental

Research Interests

My research explores how and why children’s relationships with attachment figures and the parenting children experience are related to their social and emotional development (e.g., emotion regulation, anxiety, peer relationships), with a focus on children 9-14 years old. A specific focus of recent work is developing and testing models which can help us understand how attachment, in combination with other risk and protective factors, may predict the development of anxiety symptoms. I am also interested in questions regarding the nature of attachment (e.g., which social partners can function as attachment figures?) and measurement work on the best approaches to assessing attachment in middle childhood. A new direction in research is exploring children's relationships with pets, and whether children can compensate for inadequate relationships with parents and peers.

Courses Frequently Taught

  • Social Development (undergraduate)
  • Child Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Social Development (graduate)
  • Experimental Research Methods (graduate)
  • Laboratory Experience in Psychology: Social/Clinical (undergraduate)


Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Kerns, K.A. (2008). Attachment in middle childhood. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of Attachment (2nd edition) (pp. 366 - 382). N.Y.: Guilford.

Brumariu, L.E., & Kerns, K.A. (2010). Parent-child attachment and internalizing symptomatology in childhood and adolescence: A review of empirical findings and future directions. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 177-203.

Kerns, K. A., Siener, S., & Brumariu, L. E. (2011).  Mother-child relationships, family context, and child characteristics as predictors of anxiety symptoms in middle childhood.  Development and Psychopathology, 23, 593-604.

Kerns, K. A., Brumariu, L. E., & Seibert, A. C. (2011).  Multi-method assessment of mother-child attachment:  Links to parenting and child depressive symptoms in middle childhood.  Attachment and Human Development, 13, 315-333.

West, K., Mathews, B., & Kerns, K.A. (2013). Mother-child attachment and cognitive performance in middle childhood: Am examination of mediating mechanisms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28, 259-270.

Abraham, M.M., & Kerns, K.A. (2013). Positive and negative emotions and coping as mediators of the link between mother-child attachment and peer relationships. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 59, 399-425.

Brumariu, L.E., & Kerns, K.A., (2013). Pathways to anxiety: Contributions of attachment history, temperament, peer competence, and ability to manage intense emotions. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 44, 504-515.

Kerns, K. A., & Brumariu, L. E., (2014). Is insecure parent-child attachment a risk for the development of anxiety in childhood or adolescence? Child Development Perspectives, 8, 12-17. 

Seibert, A. C., & Kerns, K. A. (in press). Early mother-child attachment: Longitudinal prediction to the quality of peer relationships in middle childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Development.

Brumariu, L.E., & Kerns, K.A. (in press). Mother-child emotion communication and childhood anxiety symptoms. Cognition and Emotion.

Kathryn A. Kerns
Department of Psychology
Phone: 330-672-2311
Fax: 330-672-3786