Sarah Erickson

Associate Professor

Associate Chair-Graduate Program

Area Head: Health Psychology

Photo: Sarah Erickson
(505) 277-0635
Logan Hall Rm 168
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1994
Curriculum vitae

Research Area/s:

Clinical Psychology,  Health Psychology

Research Interests:

  • Pediatric Psychology
  • Infant/toddler/preschooler mental health associated with maternal parenting practices in pediatric samples
  • Emotion regulation in children born very low birth weight
  • Disordered eating and body image concerns in preadolescent girls
  • Children's adaptation to chronic illness
  • Family functioning and quality of life in pediatric chronic illness populations


Accepting students?  Please email Dr. Erickson if you are interested in pursuing graduate studies.

My research interests lie within Pediatric Psychology. These interests incorporate relationships and coping, multi-dimensional and transactional processes concerning how children and families manage stress, as a unifying theme. My research program includes three primary foci: (1) an attachment theory-based investigation of infant/toddler mental health associated with maternal parenting practices in pediatric samples. Specifically, with infants born very low birth weight (VLBW), an at-risk population, I have investigated infant-mother interactions and emotion regulation; the impact of ethnicity on
the relationship between maternal interactive behavior and toddler developmental outcomes; the nature of dysregulation in this population; object permanence that underlies early working memory; a
ssociations between maternal scaffolding and medical severity, and executive functioning in preschoolers; differential associations between maternal scaffolding and toddler emotion regulation; differential associations between infant affective and cortisol stress responses among infants born very low birth weight versus full-term; the relationship between performance-based measures and naturalistic observation of executive functioning in preschoolers; and the associations between mother-child interactive play behavior and cognition in preschoolers born preterm and full-term. (2) My second area of interest addresses disordered eating and body image concerns in preadolescent girls, including developmental considerations, the relationship of these constructs to broader psychological domains such as self-esteem, mothers’ and daughters’ beliefs about factors affecting girls’ body satisfaction, an investigation of ethnic differences, the influence of mother-daughter relationship quality on
body image and disordered eating, and the psychological and physiological stress response in recovering adolescent anorexic girls. Current research focuses on specific relationship qualities that may serve as protective factors for body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating symptoms. (3) The third research area within pediatric psychology addresses children's adaptation to chronic illness.  This study of adaptation incorporates both trauma spectrum and quality of life theoretical models in understanding the long term adjustment of children with chronic illness (pediatric cancer survivors, pediatric traumatic brain injury) and their families. For pediatric cancer survivors, I have focused on trauma spectrum adaptation, concordance between adolescent and parent proxy report of trauma symptoms, somatization, and parental stress’ relationship to child functional impairment, and how functional impairment relates to neurocognitive and executive function deficits. For pediatric traumatic brain injury, I have addressed self-reported quality of life and family functioning. The overall aim of these research projects is to make significant contributions to the advancement of psychological clinical science and to the application of science to improving the human condition.

Selected Publications

Recent Articles in Refereed Journals:

Erickson, S.J., Hile, S., Kubinec, N., & Annett, R. (in press). Self-reported and parent reported functional impariment among pediatric cancer survivors and controls.  Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

Erickson, S.J., Kubinec, N., Vaccaro, S., Moss, N., Rieger, R., Rowland, A., & Lowe, J. (2019). The association between maternal interaction adn infant cortisol stress reactivity among pre-term and full-term infants at 4 months adjusted age. Infant Behavior and Development, 57.

Erickson, S.J., Hile, S., Rieger, R., Moss, N., Dinces, S., & Annett, R. (2018). Association between Executive Function and Functional Impairment Among Pediatric Cancer Survivors and Controls. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 1-11.

Erickson, S.J., MacLean, P., Duvall, S., Tonigan, J.S., Ohls, R., & Lowe, J.R. (2018). Mother-Child Interactive Behaviors and Cognition in Preschoolers born Preterm and Full Term.  Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Duvall, S., Erickson, S., MacLean, P., LaFavor, T., & Lowe, J. (2017). Multimodal Executive Function Measurement in Preschool Children Born Very Low Birth Weight and Full Term: Relationship Between Formal Measure Performance, Parent Report and Naturalistic Observational Coding. Journal of Child Neuropsychology.

Erickson, S.J., Gerstle, M., & Montague, E.Q. (2016). Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Concordance Between Adolescent Cancer Survivors and Their Parents’ Proxy Report. Journal of Health Psychology, 1-10.

Smith, J.E., Erickson, S.J., Austin, J.L., Lash, D., & Winn, J. (2016). The Influence of Mother-Daughter Relationship Quality on Body Image and Disordered Eating in Preadolescent Girls. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 2683-2694.

McLaughlin, E., Belon, K., Smith, J., & Erickson, S.J. (2015). Mothers' and Daughters' Beliefs about Factors Affecting Preadolescent Girls' Body Satisfaction. Body Image, 13, 9-17.

Lowe, J.R., Erickson, S.J., MacLean, P., Schrader, R., Olds, R., Duvall, S., & Duncan, A. (2014). Associations between maternal scaffolding and executive functioning in 3 and 4 year olds born preterm and full term. Early Human Development, 90(10), 587-593.

Duvall, S.W., Erickson, S.J., MacLean, P., & Lowe, J.R. (2014).Executive function and medical severity in preschoolers born very low birth weight. Journal of Child Neurology.

Hile, S., Erickson, S.J., Agee, B., & Annett, R. (2014). Parental stress predicts functional outcomes in pediatric cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology.

Erickson, S.J., Duvall, S.W., Fuller, J., Schraeder, R., & Lowe, J.R. (2013). Differential associations between maternal scaffolding and toddler emotion regulation in toddlers born preterm and full-term. Early Human Development, 89, 699-704.

Erickson, S.J., MacLean, P., Qualls, C., & Lowe, J.R. (2013). Differential associations between infant affective and cortisol responses during the Still Face paradigm among infants born very low birth weight versus full-term. Infant Behavior and Development, 36(3): 359-68.

Erickson, S.J., Maclean, P.C., Duvall, S.W., & Lowe, J.R. (2013). Screening for dysregulation among toddlers born very low birth weight. Infants and Young Children, 26 (3): 213-224.

Erickson, S.J., Lowe, J.R., Bancroft, M.E., Montague, E.Q, & Maclean, P. (2012). Differential ethnic associations between maternal interactive behavior and toddler play sophistication among infants born very low birth weight. Infant Behavior and Development, 35, 860-869.

Lowe, J.R., Erickson, MacLean, P., Schrader, R., & S.J., Fuller, J. (2012). Association of  Maternal Scaffolding to Maternal Education and Cognition in Toddlers Born Preterm and Term. Acta Paediatrica, 102, 72-77.

Lowe, J., Erickson, S.J., Duncan, A., & Schraeder, R. (2012). Bayley Scales 2nd Edition Compared to the 3rd Edition: Are we measuring the same thing? Acta Paediatrica, 101(2), 55-58.

Erickson, S.J., Montague, E., & Gerstle, M. (2010). Health related quality of life in children with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 13(3), 175-181.

Lowe, J.R., Erickson, S.J., Maclean, P., & Montague, E. (2010). Cognitive Correlates in Toddlers Born Very Low Birth weight and Full-Term. Infant Behavior and Development, 33, 629-634.

Annett, R.D. & Erickson, S.J. (2009). Feasibility of a school re-integration program for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: Lessons learned. European Journal of Cancer Care, 18(4), 421-428.

Erickson, S.J. Hahn-Smith, A., & Smith, J.E. (2009). One step closer: understanding the complex relationship between weight and self esteem in ethnically diverse pre-adolescent girls. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology30, 129-139.

Maclean, P., Erickson, S.J., & Lowe, J.R. (2009). Comparing emotional reactivity and regulation in infants born ELGA and VLGA. Infant Behavior and Development, 32, 336-339.

Recent Book Chapters:

Zelenko, M. & Erickson, S.J. (2011). Attachment and related psychopathology. In H. Steiner (Ed.) The Stanford University School of Medicine Handbook of Developmental Psychiatry for Children and Adolescents. NY, NY: Jossey-Bass.

Carrion, V., Erickson, S.J., & Bancroft, M.E. (2011). Traumatic stress and psychopathology. In H. Steiner (Ed.) The Stanford University School of Medicine Handbook of Developmental Psychiatry for Children and Adolescents. NY, NY: Jossey-Bass.


Nicole Kubinec, MPH, MS

Suzanne Vaccaro, MA, MS

Note:  If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies in my lab, please contact me (  Strong GRE scores and academic performance are expected.  Emphasis will be placed on research experience, publications/presentations, and letters of reference.