Karen Bierman



Evan Pugh Professor
Evan Pugh University Professor
Director of the Child Study Center
Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers
251 Moore Building University Park, Pa 16802
(814) 865-3879

Curriculum Vitae


Ph. D., University of Denver, 1981

Professional Bio

Research Interests

Dr. Bierman’s research focuses on the design and evaluation of school- and community-based prevention programs that promote social-emotional learning and school readiness. She has directed several longitudinal studies evaluating the long-term impact of early school-based and family-focused preventive interventions designed to reduce aggression (Fast Track) and enhance school success (Head Start REDI). She has also developed and evaluated small-group social skill training interventions for peer-rejected children (Friendship Group). Her current research focuses on the longitudinal follow-up of the REDI classroom and parent prevention program participants (funded by NIH) and the evaluation of two new parent-focused guided play interventions to support preschool STEM and social-emotional skills (funded by NSF and IES respectively).

Recent Publications

Bierman, K.L., Welsh, J.A., Hall, C.M., Jacobson, L.N., Lee, D.L., & Jones, D.E. (2022). Efficacy of the Fast Track Friendship Group program for peer-rejected children: A randomized-controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Ho, L.C., Bierman, K.L., Jacobson, L.N., Welsh, J.A., Hall, C.M., & Lee, D.L. (2022). Linking intervention experiences to child outcomes in a school-based social skills training program. Psychology in the Schools.

McDoniel, M.E. & Bierman, K.L. (2022). Exploring pathways linking early childhood adverse experiences to reduced school engagement in preadolescence. Child Abuse and Neglect.

Bierman, K.L., Heinrichs, B.S., Welsh, J.A., & Nix, R.L. (2021). Sustained benefits of a preschool home visiting program: Child outcomes in fifth grade. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 56, 260-271.

Hunter, L.J., & Bierman, K.L. (2021). Implementing a school readiness intervention in community-based childcare centers: Director and teacher perceptions. Early Education and Development, 32, 1153-1173.

Bierman, K.L., Heinrichs, B.S., Welsh, J.A., & Nix, R.L. (2020). Reducing adolescent psychopathology in socioeconomically disadvantaged children with a preschool intervention: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 305-312.

Bierman, K.L., Welsh, J.A., Heinrichs, B.S., & Nix, R.L. (2018). Effect of preschool home visiting on school readiness and need for services in elementary school: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(8), e181029.

Loughlin-Presnal, J.E., & Bierman, K.L. (2017). How do parent expectations promote child academic achievement in early elementary school? A test of three mediators. Developmental Psychology, 53, 1694-1708

Sasser, T.R., Bierman, K.L., Heinrichs, B., & Nix, R.L. (2017). Preschool intervention can promote sustained growth in the executive function skills of children exhibiting early deficits. Psychological Science., 28, 1719-1730.

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.

Project Websites

Child Study Center

REDI Research Program

REDI Program Materials

Friendship Group Program



Primary Investigator:

Program Areas:

Child Clinical