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Kathryn L. Humphreys

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology and Human Development
Investigator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center; Training Faculty, Vanderbilt Brain Institute

Dr. Kathryn Humphreys is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. She has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and expertise in infant and early childhood mental health and developmental neuroscience. Her research program includes both basic and applied work, and she has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on child development, adversity, and caregiving. Her work is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and private foundations. Dr. Humphreys has received several early career awards, including the NSF CAREER Award, the NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (NIMH BRAINS) award, and the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science.

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Selected Recent Publications (†equal contribution; underlined indicates current/past mentee).

Barnett, W., Hansen, C. L., Bailes, L. G., & Humphreys, K. L. (in press). Caregiver–child proximity as a dimension of early experience. Development and Psychopathology.

Matsumoto, M., Piersiak, H. A., Letterie, M., & Humphreys, K. L. (in press). Population-based estimates of associations between child maltreatment types: A meta-analysis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse.

Salo, V. C., Pannuto, P., Hedgecock, W., Biri, A., Russo, D. A., Piersiak, H. A., & Humphreys, K. L. (in press). Measuring naturalistic proximity as a window into caregiver–child interaction patterns. Behavior Research Methods.

Humphreys, K. L., King, L. S., Guyon-Harris, K. L., & Zeanah, C. H. (2022). Caregiver regulation: A modifiable target promoting resilience to early adverse experiences. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 14, S63-S71.

Humphreys, K. L., Piersiak, H. A., Panlilio, C. C., Lehman, E. B., Verdiglione, N., Dore, S., & Levi, B. (2021). A randomized controlled trial of a child abuse mandated reporter training: Knowledge and attitudes. Child Abuse & Neglect, 117, 105033.

Cárdenas E. F., Kujawa, A., & Humphreys, K. L. (2020). Neurobiological changes during the peripartum period: Implications for health and behavior. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15, 1097-1110.

Humphreys, K. L. (2020). Child maltreatment recurrence points to urgent need to improve systems for identification and prevention. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59, 1102-1104.

Humphreys, K. L., Camacho, M. C., Roth, M. C., & Estes, E. C. (2020). Prenatal stress exposure and multimodal assessment of amygdala–medial prefrontal cortex connectivity in infants. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 46, 100877.

Humphreys, K. L., Guyon-Harris, K. L., Tibu, F., Wade, M., Nelson, C. A., Fox, N. A., & Zeanah, C. H. (2020). Psychiatric outcomes following severe deprivation in early childhood: Follow-up of a randomized controlled trial at age 16. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88, 1079-1090.

Humphreys, K. L., †LeMoult, J., Wear, J. G., Piersiak, H. A., Lee, A., & Gotlib, I. H. (2020). Child maltreatment and depression: A meta-analysis of studies using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Child Abuse & Neglect, 102, 104361.

Humphreys, K. L., Machlin, L. S., Guyon-Harris, K. L., Nelson, C. A., Fox, N. A., & Zeanah, C. H. (2020). Psychosocial deprivation and receptive language: A two sample study. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 12, 36.

Humphreys, K. L., Myint, M. T., & Zeanah, C. H. (2020). Increased risk for family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pediatrics, 146, e20200982.

Humphreys, K. L., Sisk, L. M., Mancszak, E. M., Lin, J., & Gotlib, I. H. (2020). Depressive symptoms predict change in telomere length and mitochondrial DNA copy number across adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59, 1364-1370.

Humphreys, K. L. & Salo, V. C. (2020). Expectable environments in early life. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 36, 115-119.


  • 2023, Early Career Impact Award, Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences

  • 2022, Boyd McCandless Award, American Psychological Association (Division 7)

  • 2022, NIMH BRAINS Award 

  • 2021, David Kucharski Young Investigator Award, International Society for Developmental Psychobiology

  • 2021, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Emerging Leadership Award in Research, ZERO TO THREE
  • 2020, Young Investigator Award, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
  • 2020, Fellow, Association for Psychological Science
  • 2020, Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, Association for Psychological Science
  • 2020, Chaim and Bela Danieli Early Career Award, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
  • 2018–2020, Jacobs Foundation Early Career Research Fellow
  • 2017, Association for Psychological Science (APS) “Rising Star” Award
  • 2014, Michael J. Goldstein Distinguished Dissertation Award in Clinical Psychology, UCLA
  • 2013, National Psychologist Trainee Register Credentialing Scholarship
  • 2013, Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD) Young Scientist Award
  • 2013, Charles E. and Sue K. Young Graduate Student Award, UCLA
  • 2013, Distinguished Student Service Award in Clinical Psychology, Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12), American Psychological Association
  • 2013, Student Achievement Award, Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Division 53), American Psychological Association
  • 2011, Psychology in Action Award, UCLA
  • 2008–2009, Chancellor’s Prize, UCLA
  • 2006, Intellectual Contribution Award, Harvard University Graduate School of Education