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Dr. Shari Kidwell

Associate Professor,
Program/Dept: Psychology
Degrees, Licensures and Certifications: Ph.D., Wayne State University
Research Interests: Dr. Kidwell’s overall research objective is in understanding the central importance of parents in the well-being of their children. A particular focus is parent-child attachment relationships and the types of parenting that are associated with secure attachments (e.g., sensitive, warm, and empathic). Dr. Kidwell utilizes the Dynamic Maturational Model (Crittenden, 2008) to classify attachment and conceptualize development among both normative and clinical populations. This model emphasizes that maladaptive interpersonal strategies (i.e., very insecure attachments) evolve out of attempts to adapt to childhood contexts of threat and danger. (See link below for more information about DMM theory).
Dr. Kidwell’s projects have highlighted the association of attachment with children’s emotion understanding and regulation and with parent’s socialization of emotion. Broader interests include parent and child social relationships, psychological functioning, and sources of resilience (e.g., academic motivation). The majority of Dr. Kidwell’s work at MSU involves a longitudinal study of 55 parents and their children. The children were preschoolers when the project began and are 9-13 during the most recent stage. These families have been very generous with their time and in helping us understand both their strengths and challenges. Dr. Kidwell has also been very fortunate to have many dedicated and capable undergraduate and graduate research students, whose work has culminated with presentations at regional and international conferences.


Dr. Shari Kidwell received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, a master's degree in clinical psychology from Loyola University Maryland, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University. Dr. Kidwell’s specialty area is child clinical psychology. Her research and teaching reflect the developmental psychopathology perspective, which emphasizes understanding abnormal development through its intersection with normal developmental processes. At the undergraduate level, Dr. Kidwell teaches Psychology of Adjustment, Counseling Psychology, Childhood Disorders, Directed Study/Research Problems, and Practicum. At the graduate level, Dr. Kidwell teaches Psychopathology, Child Assessment, Child and Adolescent Therapy, Directed Study/Research Problems/Thesis, Practicum and Internship.

Contact Info:

437 Reed Hall
Phone: 606-783-2984