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Scenes from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Sue K. Adams


Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology), 2007, University of Massachusetts Boston

Predoctoral Clinical Internship, 2006-2007, Brown University Clinical Psychology Consortium

M.A. (Clinical Psychology), 2004, University of Massachusetts Boston

B.A. (Psychobiology), 2001, Wheaton College (MA)

Professional Licensure

Licensed Psychologist, State of Rhode Island, #PS01149, 2009

Courses taught at URI

  • HDF357: Family and Community Health
  • HDF450: Introduction to Counseling
  • HDF535: Family Stress, Coping and Adaptation
  • HDF536: Family Dynamics and Health


Program of Scholarly Activity

With a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, Dr. Adams’s teaching, research and clinical interests are focused in the area of physical and mental health promotion. Dr. Adams has received extensive research training in the area of childhood asthma, exploring cultural factors that influence children’s asthma management. Dr. Adams’s research interests also include examining the impact of sleep on college students’ academic, psychological, and social functioning. At URI, Dr. Adams founded the Sleep Research Lab. With the help of 2-4 undergraduate and graduate students per year and Co-Investigator, Dr. Tiffani Kisler, the Sleep Lab is currently examining the impact of technology (e.g., text messaging, sexting, cell phone use, social networking, etc.) on students’ sleep quality, physical health, and psychological health (i.e., anxiety and depression). Given the importance of sleep in helping individuals to achieve their fullest potential, Dr. Adams hopes to apply the results of this research to improve the sleep quality of college students at URI.


Dr. Adams also provides clinical services to children and families experiencing an array of physical and mental health concerns. She utilizes a cognitive behavioral approach to treat children with anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and other medical issues such as asthma. Dr. Adams is also active in community outreach and regularly conducts workshops on the topic of childhood sleep and anxiety.
















Sleep Research Lab - 2012: Abigail Johnston, Jesse Bronstein, Amy Gencarelli, Dr. Sue Adams


Selected Media Coverage on Sleep and Sexting Data

1) A sample clip of Dr. Adams discussing the results and implications of her sleep research:


2) Research by Human Development and Family Studies Assistant Professor Sue Adams has shown a "hidden" effect of technology -- the sleep deprivation resulting from their 24/7 use. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported on her findings, "Bleary-Eyed Students Can't Stop Texting, Even to Sleep, a Researcher Finds," and the story was covered by numerous other media outlets, including Princeton Review. For the story, URI student Michelle Fox also spoke with the reporter about her smart phone use habits. On a related front, CNN recently referred to the earlier results about the prevalence of "sexting" from the same study.


3) Research by Human Development and Family Studies Assistant Professors Tiffani Kisler and Sue Adams has shown the prevalence and impact of 'sexting' messages sent among college students. Following the post of a URI Today report, their study has been covered by numerous news organizations, including TimeRolling StoneCBS NewsU.S. News and World Report,MacLean's, Channel 10, Channel 12, GoLocalProvThe AtlanticCNETInternational Business Times, and more than 100 TV stations around the country, among others.



Selected Publications


1.  McQuaid E.L., Fedele, D.A., Adams, S.K., Koinis-Mitchell, D., Mitchell, J.M., Kopel, S.J., Seifer, R., Jandasek, B., Fritz, G.K., & Canino, G. (In press). Complementary and alternative medicine use and adherence to asthma medications among Latino and non-Latino white families. To appear in Academic Pediatrics.


2.  *Powers, J., Adams, S.K. & Kisler, T. (In Press). An examination of self-esteem, depression and sleep in college students. To appear in the Journal of Women in Higher Education.


3.  Adams, S.K., Daly, J.F., & Williford, D.N. (2013). Adolescent sleep and cellular phone use: Recent trends and implications for research. Health Services Insights, 6, 99-103.


4.  Adams, S.K. & Kisler, T. (2013). Sleep quality as a mediator between technology-related sleep quality, depression and anxiety Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(1), 25-30.


5.  Murdock, K.K., Adams, S.K., Pears, E. & Ellis, B. (2012). Caregiving load and pediatric asthma morbidity: Conflict matters. Families, Systems, and Health, 30(2), 101-13.


6.  Feldstein Ewing, S., Wray, A., Mead, H., & Adams, S.K. (2012). Two approaches for tailoring treatment to cultural minority adolescents. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43(2), 190-203.


7.  Adams, S.K., Murdock, K.K., Lima, L.A., & McQuaid, E.L. (2011). The role of parents' medication beliefs, religious problem-solving, and risks for treatment nonadherence in urban families with asthma. Health Services Insights, 4, 11-21.


8.  Murdock, K.K., Greene, C., Adams, S.K., Hartmann, W., Bittinger, S., & Will, K. (2010). The puzzle of problem-solving efficacy: Understanding anxiety among urban children coping with asthma-related and life stress. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 27, 1-16.


9.  Murdock, K.K., Robinson, E., Adams, S.K., Berz, J., & Rollock, M. (2009). Family-school connections and internalizing problems among children living with asthma in urban, low-income neighborhoods. Journal of Child Health Care, 13(3), 275-294.


10.  Adams, S.K. & Koinis Mitchell D. (2008). Perspective on alternative and complementary therapies in asthma. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, 4(6), 703-711.


11.  Adams, S.K., Murdock, K.K., & McQuaid, E.L. (2007). Parental beliefs about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and asthma-related outcomes: An urban perspective. Journal of Asthma, 44, 775-782.