Eric M. Vernberg

Eric M. Vernberg
University of Kansas | KU · Clinical Child Psychology Program

PhD

About

108
Publications
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6,591
Citations

Publications

Publications (108)
Article
The goal of this study was to assess longitudinal, predictive relationships between community violent crime and reactive and proactive aggression. Community violent crime data were gathered from local law enforcement agencies and combined with an existing dataset of at-risk youth. Aggression was assessed by parents using the Reactive and Proactive...
Article
This study examined whether pre-disaster indicators of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity moderated the relation between degree of disaster exposure from an EF-4 tornado and changes in the externalizing and internalizing behavior problems of children at-risk for aggression. Participants included 188 children in 4th-6th grades (65% male; 78% A...
Article
Therapeutic alliance is associated with treatment outcomes across a diverse range of intervention models and clinical populations. Likewise, the perceived quality of working alliance in adult psychotherapy has been a consistent predictor of engagement, while research with children is limited. This study draws from a sample of 180 children who were...
Article
This study explores the association between caregivers' style of co-reminiscing with their adolescents about an EF4 tornado and youth anxiety symptoms several years following the disaster. Caregiver reward of their children's emotional expression, defined as attending to and validating emotionally salient content, is generally associated with adapt...
Article
Objective: The current study examined how severity of disaster exposure and predisaster individual and family characteristics predicted trajectories of disaster-related posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in children over 4 years following a devastating EF-4 tornado. Method: Participants (n = 346; 65% male; 77.5% African American) were 4th-6th-...
Article
Although disaster-related posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) typically decrease in intensity over time, some youth continue to report elevated levels of PTSS many years after the disaster. The current study examines two processes that may help to explain the link between disaster exposure and enduring PTSS: caregiver emotion socialization and you...
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Trauma recollections often contain trauma-related cognitive and emotional processing. Research examining indicators of such processing in children’s trauma recollections and their association with mental health symptoms is limited. Fifty 8 to 12-year-old children provided two open-ended recollections about (1) challenging/“bad” things and (2) posit...
Article
This study examined whether social preference was a mechanism that explained the relation between proactive and reactive aggression and peer victimization. Participants were 494 children in grades 2–5. Proactive and reactive aggression was assessed via a self-report measure and indices of social preference and peer victimization were assessed via a...
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Using a risk-resilience framework, this study examined how varying levels of exposure to a natural disaster (EF-4 tornado) and children’s characteristics (sex; anxiety) influenced the behavioral and psychological adjustment of children who shared a common risk factor predisaster (elevated aggression) prior to exposure through 1-year postdisaster. P...
Article
Positive psychology concepts and principles can be incorporated into preparedness, crisis response, and recovery phases of disaster mental health efforts to address the needs of children, adolescents, and families. This article articulates general developmental considerations for applying positive psychology in disaster mental health contexts and d...
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Research suggests that some types of trauma research can be conducted safely with children ages 10 and older. The aim of this project was to learn more about potential risks or benefits of conducting research with younger children and with child disaster survivors, specifically about research that includes children providing trauma recollections. F...
Article
This study examined associations between physical and relational forms of aggression and victimization and risk for willingness to engage in substance use and actual use in a sample of 231 (50% male) second- through fourth-grade students (mean age = 8.3 years). Physical aggression was more strongly associated with risk for substance use outcomes th...
Article
Although a relation between disaster exposure and ataques de nervios (ataques) has been established in adult samples, little is known about this among youth, including factors that may moderate this relation. This study examined the role of the peer context in the relation between exposure to Hurricane Georges and experiencing a past year and lifet...
Article
Disclosure of internal states terms (e.g., emotions, cognitions, and perceptions) in traumatic event descriptions is thought to be associated with physical and mental health in adults, but studies with children have been mixed, and the interpretation of many findings is complicated by the lack of longitudinal data. Using data collected from 568 stu...
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Dissemination of Psychological First Aid (PFA) is challenging considering the complex nature of disaster response and the various disaster mental health (DMH) trainings available. To understand challenges to dissemination in community mental health centers (CMHCs), interviews were conducted with nine DMH providers associated with CMHCs. Consensual...
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Background There are no studies of the distinct trajectories of children’s psychological distress over the first year after a destructive natural disaster and the determinants of these trajectories. Objective We examined these issues using an existing dataset of children exposed to Hurricane Andrew, one of the most devastating natural disasters in...
Article
Background Little research has examined the locations in which youth are victimized, particularly outside the school context. Further, it is not clear if the locations in which youth are victimized vary as a function of grade level or gender. Objective The goals of the current study were to: (1) Determine the locations inside and outside of the sch...
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This study examined the influence of peers in meeting DSM-IV symptom criteria for an internalizing disorder in adolescents exposed to Hurricane Georges. Participants included a representative community sample of 905 youth (n = 476 boys) ages 11-17, residing in Puerto Rico. Data were gathered on hurricane exposure, symptoms of internalizing disorder...
Article
The term child psychotherapy includes a full range of interventions for psychological and behavior change. As recommended in a model for training psychologists to provide services for children, adolescents, and families (Roberts et al, 1998), such strategies for change include: 1. child–adolescent interventions (including individual psychotherapy,...
Article
This study focused on characteristics of the family environment that may mediate the relationship between disaster exposure and the presence of symptoms that met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for symptom count and duration for an internalizing disorder in children and youth. We also explored how parental history of mental health problems may moderate...
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Coordination of mental health services in children with serious emotional disturbance (SED) has shown a preliminary relationship to positive outcomes in children. Yet, research in this area is sparse. Therefore, the relation between service coordination activities and adaptive functioning was examined for 51 children SED who were treated in the sch...
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Hurricane Katrina caused many individuals to evacuate to towns and cities throughout the United States. Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a treatment program designed to help clinicians and other disaster relief workers address the needs of adults, youth, and families immediately following disasters. We conducted focus groups with disaster relief an...
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Research indicates social anxiety is associated with lower friendship quality, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms. This 2-month longitudinal study examined social withdrawal as a mediator of the social anxiety-friendship quality link in a sample of 214 adolescents (M-age = 13.1 years, SD = .73) that included an oversampling of adol...
Article
A study is reported of a psychoanalytic intervention in a very violent and prejudiced Jamaican school with disenfranchised children 7–9 grades who had failed academic streaming examinations. Over the period of 3 years of the intervention using mentalization and power issues approaches grounded in attachment theory, children were assisted to feel co...
Article
To examine how involvement in aggressor-victim interactions is linked to somatic complaints, illnesses, and physical injuries among elementary school-aged children. This study was composed of a school-based sample of 590 children in grades 3 through 5. Independent sources were used to assess victimization (self-report) and aggression (peer report)...
Article
Psychological First Aid (PFA), developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, has been widely disseminated both nationally and internationally, and adopted and used by a number of disaster response organizations and agencies after major catastrophic...
Article
Following terrorist events, teachers and nonteaching school personnel are important in helping children recover, yet little is known about their willingness to assist with this. We surveyed 399 employees from a Washington, D.C.-area school district following terror attacks (September 11, 2001, attacks; sniper shootings) about their exposure, adjust...
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Over several decades, researchers have debated whether a clinician's training and experience are associated with treatment outcome. Recent studies have suggested that fine-grained variables representing training or experience are better predictors of clinical effectiveness than broader measures, such as level of education. The present study address...
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The current study examined peer victimization trajectories for 1528 children from third to fifth grade and the association of those trajectories to children’s positive and negative affect. On average, victimization was low to moderate and remained stable (self-report) or increased (peer-reports). In addition, five distinct trajectories were identif...
Article
Major hurricanes such as Katrina and Rita undoubtedly affect the lives of many children, adolescents, and their families. The impact of such storms on family members may be influenced by several factors, including the degree of exposure, the time elapsed since the storm, personality traits, preexisting psychopathology, postdisaster life stressors,...
Book
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Please note: I cannot publish this manual directly, nor can I send copies privately to any person or organization. There is an established procedure that must be followed. If you are interested in learning more about how to obtain a copy, please contact Dr. Melissa Brymer at MBrymer@mednet.ucla.edu. Thank you for your interest--Christopher Layne Ph...
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Little systematic research attention has been devoted to the impact of natural disasters on adolescent substance use. The present study examined relationships among exposure to Hurricane Rita, post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms, and changes in adolescent substance use from 13 months pre-disaster to seven and 19 months post-disaster. Subjects were...
Article
While school-based anti-bullying programs are widely used, there have been few controlled trials of effectiveness. This study compared the effect of manualized School Psychiatric Consultation (SPC), CAPSLE (a systems and mentalization focused whole school intervention), and treatment-as-usual (TAU) in reducing aggression and victimization among ele...
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We evaluated the effects of rewarded scheduled toilet sits on non-retentive encopretic behavior of an elementary-school student receiving services for serious emotional disturbance. A multidisciplinary team implemented the 8-week intervention using a multiple baseline across settings design. The results showed an increase in sitting on the toilet a...
Article
This study evaluated the Gentle Warrior Program, a traditional martial arts–based intervention to reduce aggression in children, as it was implemented in three elementary schools. The sample consisted of 254 children in grades 3, 4, and 5 who participated in the Gentle Warrior Program as part of a larger school violence intervention. Results indica...
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This study examined variability in teachers' reported adherence to a school-based violence prevention program, Creating a Peaceful School Learning Environment, and investigated the relations of teacher adherence to teachers' attitudes related to the intervention and students' attitudes about and responses to bullying. The results provide evidence o...
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Professional psychologists are called upon to deal with a broad array of crises and traumatic events. However, training and expertise in crisis response varies widely among practitioners, and there has been considerable controversy about the value of widely disseminated mental health crisis intervention protocols that include "debriefing" as an ess...
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The Intensive Mental Health Program meets the needs for services in school systems for children with serious emotional disturbances and for training graduate students in clinical applications with a difficult-to-serve population. We address the range of challenges and rewards experienced in the development of the comprehensive intervention program,...
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We investigated the use of a popular measure, the Children and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), in treatment outcome research. The sample included 70 children who had been discharged from an elementary therapeutic classroom (Intensive Mental Health Program). Significant relationships were found between decreases in CAFAS scores and o...
Article
We provide information about consumer and provider perceptions using a mixed-model pilot study within the Intensive Mental Health Project (IMHP), a school-based treatment service for children with SED and their families. Caregiver, youth, and provider questionnaires developed for this project elicited quantitative and qualitative information on tre...
Article
We describe cases from the clinical records in the Intensive Mental Health Program to illustrate the diverse presenting problems, intervention strategies, therapeutic process, and outcomes for children receiving services in this school-based, community-oriented treatment model. Cases reflect varying degrees of treatment response and potential facto...
Chapter
The term serious emotional disturbance (SED) describes children and adolescents who have severe difficulties functioning in home, school, and community settings that are thought to be caused in part by one or more underlying psychopathological conditions. Because the common element in SED is impaired functioning, rather than a core set of symptoms,...
Article
Adolescents possess numerous strengths and vulnerabilities based on their unique stage of development. When youth experience a disaster, whether natural or human-caused, there are certain considerations to be taken into account when providing them with support. This article describes common adolescent reactions to the impact phase of disasters as w...
Article
In order to meet the challenging needs and behaviors of children with Serious Emotional Disorders (SED), a school and community based Intensive Mental Health Program (IMHP) was developed and evaluated. We describe the conceptual framework, treatment principles, and model for service delivery for psychological and educational interventions under the...
Article
We illustrate the use of formative and summative assessment in evaluating a therapeutic classroom program for children with serious emotional disturbances. Information was analyzed based on data gathered for clinical decision-making during treatment (formative assessment) and measurement of outcomes at discharge (summative assessment) from a school...
Article
We examined factors related to treatment responders (n=35) and nonresponders (n=16) in a group of 51 children admitted to the Intensive Mental Health Program (IMHP). Children’s response to treatment was coded based on their functioning at intake and discharge using total CAFAS scores. Demographic variables, length of treatment, number of diagnoses...
Article
We describe changes in adaptive functioning for children enrolled in the Intensive Mental Health Program (IMHP), an innovative model for serving children with the most severe forms of SED. Most children show marked improvements in multiple indicators of role performance and symptomatology. Although a high risk, high need group, most children attend...
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Psychological First Aid (PFA) consists of a systematic set of helping actions aimed at reducing initial post-trauma distress and supporting short- and long-term adaptive functioning. Designed as an initial component of a comprehensive disaster/trauma response, PFA is constructed around eight core actions: contact and engagement, safety and comfort,...
Article
Treating children with severe, early onset emotional and behavioral disturbances remains a daunting task for mental health and education systems. This article describes key principles, features, and outcomes for the school-based Intensive Mental Health Program (IMHP), a program designed specifically to provide comprehensive evidence-based, ecologic...
Article
Treating children with severe, early onset emotional and behavioral disturbances remains a daunting task for mental health and education systems. This article describes key principles, features, and outcomes for the school-based Intensive Mental Health Program (IMHP), a program designed specifically to provide comprehensive evidence-based, ecologic...
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This study examined how relocation to a new community affects intimacy and companionship in close friendships by comparing experiences of early adolescents who began their 7th or 8th grade school year in a new community (111 boys, 96 girls) with those of residentially stable agemates (30 boys, 38 girls). Drawing from a developmental- contextual, mu...
Article
This study is the latest advancement of our research aimed at best characterizing children's posttraumatic stress reactions. In a previous study, we compared existing nosologic and empirical models of PTSD dimensionality and determined the superior model was a hierarchical one with three symptom clusters (Intrusion/Active Avoidance, Numbing/Passive...
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The impact of a bullying and violence prevention program on education attainment was studied in five elementary schools (K-5), over a 5-year period. A multiple baseline design was used and academic attainment test scores of 1,106 students were monitored before and after the introduction of the program across the school district. This sample was con...
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To begin accounting for cultural and contextual factors related to child rearing in Mexican-descent (MD; Mexican American and Mexican immigrant) families in the United States, the current study examined parenting practices in 2-parent families of Mexican, MD, and Caucasian-non-Hispanic (CNH) parents. Parents in all groups reported using authoritati...
Article
Fifty-four early adolescents were selected and classified as nonbullying Victims (frequently bullied by peers but did not bully others) or Nonvictims (neither bullied others nor were targets of bullies) based on the distribution of victimization scores on a self-report questionnaire. These male and female students and a parent from each family comp...
Article
This study examined whether Mexican (n = 53), Mexican American (n = 50), and European American (n = 51) children differed in their reporting of anxiety symptoms and whether parental influence and specific cognitive schemas associated with Mexican culture were related to differences in anxiety reporting. As expected, Mexican and Mexican American chi...
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This article describes the development, implementation, and preliminary evaluation of a school-based Intensive Mental Health Program (IMHP) for 50 children (42 boys, 8 girls) with severe, early-onset, serious emotional disturbances (SED). Eighty-four percent of the children showed clinically significant improvement in overall functioning as measure...
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This study evaluated the validity of mediating pathways in predicting self-assessed negative affect from shyness/social withdrawal, peer rejection, victimization by peers (overt and relational), and the attitude that aggression is legitimate and warranted. Participants were 296 3rd through 5th graders (156 girls, 140 boys) from 10 elementary school...
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Children with serious emotional disturbances pose challenges to psychologists and school personnel to find optimal ways to improve functioning. An intensive mental health program (IMHP) is described for providing comprehensive psychological services in a school-based therapeutic environment. Case vignettes illustrate the type and severity of the ch...
Article
Studies of the prevalence and impact of aggression among school-age children and adolescents document the pervasiveness of bully-victim problems and indicate clear linkages between bully-victim problems, psychological distress, and, in rare instances, lethal attacks on perceived tormentors or towards the self. Evidence is slowly accumulating to sho...
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Psychoanalytic and psychiatric perspectives on children who threaten to kill others are reviewed in the context of the need for an interdisciplinary approach to the problem. Converging technologies derived from a psychoanalytically informed social systems model are compared to law enforcement approaches, psychoanalytic understanding of the individu...
Article
Premeditated mass shootings by students in suburban and rural secondary schools have surprised and even terrified our coun- try. Although school violence overall has decreased measurably since 1993 (U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, 1999), multiple-victim homicides and woundings highlight an emerg- ing problem for schools previously though...
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Examined the relative and combined associations among relational and overt forms of aggression and victimization and adolescents' concurrent depression symptoms, loneliness, self-esteem, and externalizing behavior. An ethnically diverse sample of 566 adolescents (55% girls) in Grades 9 to 12 participated. Results replicated prior work on relational...
Chapter
An increasing number of children and youth enrolled in public schools have severe psychiatric disturbances, yet few school systems are adequately prepared to meet the needs of this population (Rones & Hoagwood, 2000). This unfortunate scenario arises in Part from a relative dearth of school-based models that are effective and affordable for working...
Article
Child-focused disaster research is a relatively new area of study, one that has grown substantially in recent years and will continue to develop in the recent aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. As reflected in this volume, the first generation of studies focused predominantly on documenting children's and adolescents' reactions to d...
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Numerous controversies remain over the cognitive, biological, and social mechanisms that underlie the symptoms defining posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is ongoing debate as to whether PTSD should remain classified as an anxiety disorder, or instead be considered a dissociative disorder or a component of a new stress response disorder ca...
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This article discusses empirical support for cognitive behavioral therapy with children and adolescents experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Developmental features influencing the presentation of PTSD symptoms include age-related differences in arousal modulation, cause and effect reasoning, language and conceptual skills, an...