Laura Pittman

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the field of developmental psychopathology, specifically focusing on how family processes and broader contextual factors influence children’s and adolescents’ socioemotional and cognitive functioning. My research focuses on risk and resilience in children and adolescence, specifically, in how parents as well as broader contextual factors may buffer the expected negative influence of known risk factors (e.g., parental depression, poverty). Currently I am focusing on understanding the ways in which grandparents and fathers influence families and child development, considering constructs of coparenting, parenting behaviors, and family cohesion. I also have a growing interest in how culture/race/ethnicity may influence development in children and adolescents. I have approached this topic considering how both common family factors (e.g., firm discipline, warmth) and specific cultural aspects (e.g., ethnic identity, racial socialization) may influence children and adolescents, both examining those from minority backgrounds alone as well as comparing patterns across ethnic groups. Finally, I have recently had the opportunity to collect data from children after they had experienced two Category 5 Hurricanes on St. Thomas, and thus, have been considering how family and school contexts may buffer the risk of developing psychological symptoms after experiencing these natural disasters.

Frequently Taught Classes

  • PSYC 315  Behavior Disturbances in Children
  • PSYC 418  Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • PSYC 645  Developmental Psychopathology
  • PSYC 649  Ethics and Professional Issues in Psychology
  • PSYC 654  Practicum in Psychotherapy

Representative Publications

  • Murdock, K. W., Pittman, L. D., & Fagundes, C. P. (2018). Maternal and paternal predictors of child depressive symptoms: An actor-partner interdependence framework. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 559-568. doi: 10.1007/s10826-017-0910-6
  • Keeports, C. & Pittman, L. D. (2017). I wish my parents would stop arguing! The impact of interparental conflict on young adults.  Journal of Family Issues, 38, 839-857. doi:10.1177/0192513X15613821
  • Pittman, L. D., Ioffe, M., & Keeports, C. (2016). Young adults’ perceptions of living with their grandparents during childhood.  In M. H. Meyer & Y. Abdul-Malik (Eds.), Grandparenting in the United States (pp. 185-206). Amityville, NY: Baywood.
  • Gummadam, P., Pittman, L. D., & Ioffe, M. (2015). School belonging, ethnic identity, and psychological adjustment among ethnic minority college students. Journal of Experimental Education, 84, 289-306. doi:1080/00220973.2015.1048844  
  • London, M., Lilly, M., & Pittman, L.D. (2015). Attachment as a mediator between community violence and posttraumatic stress symptoms among adolescents with a history of maltreatment.  Child Abuse and Neglect, 42, 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.11.002
  • Pittman, L. D., & Coley, R. L. (2011).  Coparenting in families with adolescent mothers .  In J. McHale & K. M. Lindahl (Eds). Co-parenting: Theory, research and clinical applications(pp. 105-126). Washington, DC: APA Press.
  • Pittman, L. D. (2007). Grandmothers’ involvement among young adolescents growing up in poverty. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17, 89-116. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2007.00513.x
  • Pittman, L. D., & Boswell, M. K. (2007). The role of grandmothers in the lives of preschoolers growing up in urban poverty. Applied Developmental Science, 11, 20-42. doi: 10.1080/10888690709336721

Representative Grants

  • Principal Investigator, Integrated Assessment Program, Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, 6/1/15 –current, approximately $6,500,000 (annually).
  • Principal Investigator, Parenting and School Readiness Among Low-Income Children, Grant from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 12/1/04 - 11/30/06, $100,000.
  • Principal Investigator, Grandmother's involvement among children and adolescents growing up in poverty, Grant from the Joint Center for Poverty Research, 9/1/02 - 9/30/03, $30,000.


Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology and Director of Clinical Training

PM 314

The Families and Development in Context Lab


Ph.D.: University of Connecticut, 1996