Alan Kazdin appointed Sterling Professor of Psychology

Alan Kazdin, newly named as Sterling Professor of Psychology, focuses his research on questions related to diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of childhood psychiatric disorders, especially Oppositional-Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder.

Alan Kazdin (Photo by Michael Marsland)

The Sterling Professorship is the highest honor bestowed on Yale faculty.

Kazdin’s clinical-research group develops, evaluates, and provides evidence-based treatments (parent management training and cognitive problem-solving skills training) for clinically referred children and adolescents. The group’s goal is to understand the nature and scope of child dysfunction, and parent, family, and contextual factors in which child dysfunction is embedded. Kazdin and his colleagues study ways of engaging children and families in treatment, premature termination from treatment, barriers that influence parent participation and treatment outcome, and factors during treatment (e.g., parent expectations and therapeutic alliance) that can be mobilized to improve treatment outcomes. In addition to providing treatment to clinically referred children, Kazdin’s group helps parents with the normal challenges of child rearing. It provides interventions in New Haven and, through online individual treatment sessions, across the world. Its work is carried out at the Yale Parenting Center.

Another area of his work focuses on how social robots and animals (dogs) can be used to improve child wellbeing and stress. His research focuses on basic processes to better understand the interactions and what might be mobilized to improve mental health. That work is carried out at the Innovative Interactions Lab.

Kazdin received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern University. Before coming to Yale, he was on the faculty of The Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. At Yale, he has been chair of the Department of Psychology, director of the Yale Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine, and director of Child Psychiatric Services at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The Yale professor is the author of more than 700 publications, including 49 books that focus on interventions for children and adolescents, cognitive-behavioral treatment, parenting and child rearing, interpersonal violence, and research methodology. His work on parenting and childrearing has been featured on NPR, PBS, BBC, and CNN and he has appeared on the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” ABC News, “20/20,” and “Dr. Phil.”

Kazdin’s honors include the awards for Outstanding Research Contribution by an Individual and Lifetime Achievement from the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies; the Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology Award and Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology from the American Psychological Association; and the James McKeen Cattell Award from the Association for Psychological Science. In 2008, he was president of the American Psychological Association.