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Karen Bierman

Karen Bierman

Evan Pugh Professor

Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies

Director of the Child Study Center

251 Moore Building
Office Phone: (814) 865-3879


  1. Ph. D., University of Denver, 1981


Karen Bierman's Vita

Research Interests

Karen Bierman's research interests center on child social-emotional development and the design and evaluation of school- and community-based prevention programs that promote social-emotional learning, self-regulation, positive peer relations, and school success. Currently, Dr. Bierman directs the Head Start REDI (Research-based, developmentally informed) prevention trial, funded by NICHD,, which is evaluating the long-term benefits of evidence-based enrichments to Head Start classroom and home visiting programs. She also leads a related NICHD-funded study examining the impact of REDI delivered in child-care centers supported by on-line implementation supports. Dr. Bierman also directs two projects funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences, including the TIES (Training Interdisciplinary Educational Scientists) predoctoral training program,, and the Friendship Connections Project, testing the efficacy of school-based interventions for children with significant peer difficulties. She is particularly interested in the use of technology-assisted intervention supports for teachers, parents, and children. She is a member of the Conduct Problem Prevention Research Group (CPPRG) and directed the Pennsylvania site of the Fast Track Project.

Recent Publications

Loughlin-Presnal, J.E., & Bierman, K.L. (in press). How do parent expectations promote child academic achievement in early elementary school? A test of three mediators. Developmental Psychology.

Sasser, T.R., Bierman, K.L., Heinrichs, B., & Nix, R.L. (in press). Preschool intervention can promote sustained growth in the executive function skills of children exhibiting early deficits. Psychological Science.

Bierman, K.L., Greenberg, M.T., Coie, J.D., Dodge, K.A., Lochman, J.E., & McMahon, R.J. (2017). Social and emotional skills training for children: The Fast Track Friendship Group Manual. New York: Guilford Press.

Bierman, K.L., Heinrichs, B.S., Welsh, J.A., Nix, R.L., & Gest, S.D. (2017). Enriching preschool classrooms and home visits with evidence-based programming: Sustained benefits for low-income children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 58, 129-137.

Bierman, K.L. & Torres, M. (2016). Promoting the development of executive functions through early education and prevention programs. In J. A. Griffin, L.S. Freund, & P.McCardle (Eds.) Executive function in preschool age children: Integrating measurement, neurodevelopment and translational research. Washington, D.C.: APA

Nix, R.L., Bierman, K.L., Heinrichs, B.S., Gest, S.D., Welsh, J.A., & Domitrovich, C.E. (2016). The randomized-controlled trial of Head Start REDI: Sustained effects on developmental trajectories of social-emotional functioning.  Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 84, 310-322. 

Bierman, K.L., & Motamedi, M. (2015). Social-emotional programs for preschool children. In J Durlak, R. Weissberg, & T. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice. (pp. 135-150) New York, NY: Guilford, Press.

Bierman, K.L., Welsh, J., Heinrichs, B.S., Nix, R.L., & Mathis, E.T. (2015). Helping Head Start parents promote their children's kindergarten adjustment: The REDI parent program. Child Development, 86, 1877-1891.

Hall, C.M., & Bierman, K.L. (2015). Technology-assisted interventions for parents of young children: Emerging practices, current research, and future directions.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 33, 21-32.

CPPRG. (2015). Impact of early intervention on psychopathology, crime, and well-being at age 25. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 59-70.

Bierman, K.L., Nix, R.L., Heinrichs, B.S., Domitrovich, C.E., Gest, S.D., Welsh, J.A., & Gill, S. (2014). Effects of Head Start REDI on children's outcomes one year later in different kindergarten contexts. Child Development, 85, 140-159

Project Websites

Child Study Center

TIES Predoctoral Training Program

REDI Program

Collaboration with Better Kid Care

Friendship Connections Program


Research Interests:

Clinical (Adult and Child):
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