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College of the Liberal Arts

PSU ShieldPsychology Banner ImageDepartment ofPsychology

Karen Bierman
Distinguished Professor of Psychology

Ph. D., University of Denver, 1981


Mailing Address

Department of Psychology
The Pennsylvania State University
251 Moore Building
University Park, PA 16802-3106


814 865-3879


814 863-7002

Research Interests

Karen Bierman has interests in child-clinical psychology, social-emotional development, and preventive interventions. Her research focuses on peer relations, disruptive behavior problems, and intervention programs to facilitate social adjustment. Currently, she directs the Head Start-REDI project, a field trial evaluating the impact of research-based emergent literacy and social-emotional skill training on student school readiness, when delivered in the context of Head Start programs. She also directs the Pennsylvania site of the Fast Track Program, a multisite program addressing the early identification and prevention of conduct problems ( She codirects the FOCUS project (Forming Outreach Community University Systems for engagement), which utilizes university-community collaborations to promote school readiness by designing, implementing, and evaluating parent outreach and support programs. She leads the School Readiness research initiative at the Child Study Center ( ) and serves as Associate Director for the Prevention Research Center (

Recent Publications

Bierman, K.L. (2004). Peer rejection: Developmental processes and intervention strategies. New York: Guilford.

Putallaz, M. & Bierman, K.L. (Eds.) (2004). Aggression, antisocial behavior, and violence among girls: A developmental perspective. New York: Guilford.

Lavellee, K.L., Bierman, K.L., Nix, R.L. & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (2005). The impact of first-grade "friendship group" experiences on child social outcomes in the Fast Track Program. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 307-324.

Bierman, K.L., & Erath, S.A. (2006). Promoting social competence in early childhood: Classroom curricula and social skills coaching programs. In K. McCartney & D. Phillips (Eds.) Blackwell handbook on early childhood development (pp. 595-615). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Thomas, D.E., Bierman, K.L., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (2006). The impact of classroom aggression on the development of aggressive behavior problems in children. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 471-487.

Bierman, K.L., Nix, R.L., Maples, J.J., Murphy, S.A., and the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (2006). Examining the use of clinical judgment in the context of an adaptive prevention design: The Fast Track Program. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 468-481.