Principal Investigator

Brian M. D'Onofrio, PhD


My research, rooted in the field of developmental psychopathology, explores the etiology and treatment of psychological problems using advanced statistical and epidemiological methods. In particular, I study the processes that underlie the association between putative risk/protective factors and psychological problems using (1) large datasets; (2) quasi-experimental designs; and (3) longitudinal analyses. First, I have extensive training and research experience in analyzing large-scale, epidemiological datasets to help answer questions related to the etiology and treatment of serious psychological and substance use problems. Second, I use several quasi-experimental approaches, such as family-based designs (e.g., the comparison of differentially exposed siblings, twins, cousins, and offspring of twins) and within-individual comparisons, because they enable researchers to pull apart co-occurring risk mechanisms and test competing hypotheses. I have written extensively about the advantages and disadvantages of using different designs when drawing causal inferences using observational data. I have also used these designs to test several risk factors for psychological and substance use problems. Third, I utilize longitudinal studies to examine the development of psychological problems over time with a particular focus on how risk factors influence and are influenced by psychopathology.

My current research is focused on two major areas. First, I am using family-based designs to help specify the mechanisms through which early exposures, including pregnancy risk factors, and parental psychological problems influence offspring psychopathology. Second, I am exploring the risks and benefits of psychotropic medications using pharmaco-epidemiologic studies.

Curriculum Vitae Google Scholar Page

Postdoctoral Fellow

Patrick D. Quinn, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

I use longitudinal studies of individuals and families to test hypotheses regarding the causes and consequences of alcohol and other substance use. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Developmental Psychopathology Lab, I pursue a translational, epidemiologic approach to this work. That is, I analyze large health-record databases to examine questions of etiology or treatment that cannot be wholly answered by randomized, controlled experiments.

My current research, which is supported by an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), primarily examines prescribed opioid pain medications. These ongoing studies use healthcare data to evaluate (a) the mental health and other characteristics of adolescents and adults who receive prescribed opioids in real-world treatment and (b) associations between receiving opioids and subsequent risk of substance use problems and other adverse behavioral outcomes. Additionally, I study the roles that ADHD and its pharmacological treatment play in risk of substance use problems.

I received my doctorate in clinical psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. As a graduate student, I focused on alcohol use and related problems among young people, using methods including self-monitoring of real-world drinking, longitudinal and twin studies, and laboratory-based alcohol administration. I completed my APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at the Indiana University School of Medicine.


Representative Publications

Quinn, P.D., Chang, Z., Hur, K., Gibbons, R.D., Lahey, B.B., Rickert, M.E., … D’Onofrio, B.M. (2017). ADHD medication and substance-related problems. American Journal of Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16060686

Quinn, P.D., Hur, K., Chang, Z., Krebs, E.E., Bair, M.J., Scott, E.L., … D’Onofrio, B.M. (2017). Incident and long-term opioid therapy among patients with psychiatric conditions and medications: A national study of commercial healthcare claims. Pain, 158, 140-148.

Quinn, P.D., Rickert, M.E., Weibull, C.E., Johansson, A.L.V., Lichtenstein, P., Almqvist, C., … D’Onofrio, B.M. (2017). Association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and severe mental illness in offspring. JAMA Psychiatry, 74, 589-596.

Quinn, P.D., Pettersson, E., Lundström, S., Anckarsäter, H., Långström, N., Gumpert, C.H., … D’Onofrio, B.M. (2016). Childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms and the development of adolescent alcohol problems: A prospective, population-based study of Swedish twins. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 171, 958-970.

Quinn, P.D. & Harden, K.P. (2013). Behind the wheel and on the map: Genetic and environmental associations between drunk driving and other externalizing behaviors. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122, 1166-1178.

Curriculum Vitae Complete Bibliography

Doctoral Students

Lauren O'Reilly

Doctoral Student

At Indiana University, I am interested in studying the etiology of suicidal behavior (i.e., suicide attempt and death by suicide) in adolescence through adulthood. To do so, I analyze longitudinal, population-based registers from Sweden and use genetically-informed designs to examine the extent to which genetic and environmental factors are associated with suicidal behaviors. These large databases and designs allow for the examination of causal relations between previously explored risk factors and later suicidal behavior. I am currently working on two main areas of research: 1) the intergenerational transmission of suicidal behavior using a Children of Twins and Siblings design, and 2) the association between a variety of psychosocial risk factors (e.g., impulsivity and aggression) and suicidal behavior in an adolescent twin sample. I aim to extend my line to research to examine short-term risk factors for suicidal behavior post-discharge from psychiatric inpatient/outpatient hospitalization.

Curriculum Vitae

Ayesha C. Sujan

Doctoral Student

My research explores the consequences of exposure to prenatal risk factors on birth (e.g., preterm birth and reduced fetal growth) and neurodevelopmental (e.g., autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) problems. I am particularly interested in exploring the potential consequences of prenatal exposure to antidepressants and other psychotropic medications. Because offspring cannot be randomly assigned to prenatal exposures, I use large-scale longitudinal datasets and methods with design features that help account for confounding factors to test alternative hypotheses between prenatal risk factors and offspring outcomes. For example, we have compared differentially exposed siblings to test for confounding by genetic and environmental factors and used timing of exposure comparisons to test for confounding by selection factors related to psychotropic medication use around the time of pregnancy.

I received my B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University and my M.A. in Human Development from Cornell University. At Tulane, I conducted research on child abuse and attachment disruptions. At Cornell, my research focused on how maternal demographic risk factors can be used to more effectively target existing home visiting programs to at-risk families.

Curriculum Vitae

Kelsey Wiggs

Doctoral Student

I am broadly interested in the etiology and treatment of neurodevelopmental problems (e.g., symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, seizures, and autism spectrum disorders) across multiple levels of analysis and time scales. In the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at IU, I work with Dr. Brian D'Onofrio on two main areas of research using large longitudinal datasets. The first uses within family designs to disentangle the extent to which perinatal risk factors versus genetic and environmental factors shared within families impact neurodevelopmental problems. The second uses a within individual design to assess the safety of ADHD medication independent of stable genetic and environmental factors within an individual. Specifically, we are currently investigating whether an individual is at increased odds of having a seizure when s/he is taking ADHD medication compared to when s/he is not taking ADHD medication. I also hope to expand my current line of inquiry over the next year by working with Dr. Dan Kennedy to investigate the variance of visual attention patterns in twins with and without symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Scientist

Martin E. Rickert, PhD

Research Scientist

I have an extensive background in scientific research with specific expertise and interests in data modeling, statistical estimation and technical computing. Recently, my efforts have focused on using genetically-informed, quasi-experimental designs to explore the scope and specificity of risk factors for adverse birth outcomes, neurodevelopmental disorders, severe adult psychopathology, cognitive/intellectual functioning, and long-term, social outcomes. A key compoment of my work in the lab relates directly to solving "big" data issues. This includes (1) developing algorithms and implementing the software routines needed to extract and integrate information from the Swedish population registers used on many of our ongoing projects and (2) writing code that enables us to fit complex models (e.g., cross-classified random effects, surivival models with time-varying covariates, etc) on Indiana University's large memory computer cluster configured to support data-intensive, high-performance computing tasks. In my spare time I contemplate the existence of Harry Potter (not really), practice my clown-painting skills (not), and play the baritone kazoo at the local farmer's market in Bloomington (closer).

Research Gate Profile

Laboratory Alumni

Quetzal A. Class, PhD

Quetzal A. Class, PhD is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She explores the causes and consequences of preconception, prenatal, and family-planning risk factors on offspring and maternal physical and psychological well-being. Her research has focused on preconception stress, adverse birth outcomes, interpregnancy interval, and maternal infection during pregnancy and she is beginning to examine cannabis use during pregnancy. Primarily in large, longitudinal datasets, Dr. Class uses several advanced statistical and epidemiological methods, such as quasi-experimental approaches, family-based designs (e.g., the comparison of differentially exposed siblings or cousins), and structural equation modeling to pull-apart co-occurring risk mechanisms and test competing hypotheses.

Curriculum Vitae

Claire A. Coyne, PhD

My primary research interest is the etiology of childhood and adolescent antisocial behavior and the pronounced sex difference in antisocial behavior that persists from childhood into adulthood. I am interested in the genetic and environmental influences on sex differences in the development of antisocial behavior, as well as exploring sex differences in sensitivity and exposure to risk factors, and the role of sex-specific risk factors for antisocial behavior. I am also interested in the possible causal relationships between teenage childbearing and offspring antisocial behaviors. My research uses genetically informative and longitudinal approaches to study the causal associations between various putative risk factors and antisocial behavior.

Curriculum Vitae

Kelly L. Donahue, PhD, HSPP

I received my PhD in clinical psychology from IU in 2012. As a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychopathology Lab, I conducted research exploring the associations between adolescent sexual behavior and psychological health using longitudinal and quasi-experimental designs. I completed my pre-doctoral clinical internship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a focus on clinical child and adolescent psychology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Section of Adolescent Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM), where I was involved in research projects focused on improving HPV vaccination among adolescents.

I currently provide psychological services to children, adolescents, and their families as a licensed clinical psychologist in a small group practice on the north side of Indianapolis. I also remain engaged in research projects with my colleagues in Adolescent Medicine at IUSM and provide behavioral health services to patients in their Diabetes and Young Women's specialty clinics.

Curriculum Vitae website

Alice C. Schermerhorn, PhD

I was a post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University, funded by a Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Research Training Grant from NICHD (T32HD007475) awarded to Indiana University (Linda Smith, PI). I worked with Drs. John Bates, Brian D'Onofrio, and Amy Holtzworth-Munroe. My research interests are in the areas of developmental and clinical science, especially socio-emotional development, developmental psychopathology, and family relationships. I am interested in typical and atypical development, with family relationships as one context for studying development. I am particularly interested in studying families as sources of stress and in studying reciprocal influence processes in families. I am interested in child temperament, as well as in associations between child temperament and child psychosocial adjustment. I am also interested in examining the genetic and environmental contributions to individual and family functioning.

The overarching goal of my program of research is to advance understanding of children’s adaptation to stressors. I am especially interested in associations between child temperament and both mental health and immune functioning within the context of the stressor of interparental conflict, particularly focusing on the mechanisms through which stressors impact children and on identifying children for whom stress is particularly problematic.


Erikka B. Vaughan, PhD

I have conducted and presented research on the etiology of anxious and depressive symptoms in children and adolescents. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at an outpatient mental health clinic that provides comprehensive interventions for children, adolescents, and their families.

Curriculum Vitae