Christopher Cushing

Christopher Cushing
  • Associate Scientist, Life Span Institute
  • Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Child Psychology & Department of Applied Behavioral Science

Contact Info

Dole Human Development Center, Room 2011
1000 Sunnyside Ave
Lawrence, KS 66045-7599


Dr. Christopher Cushing earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Kansas, under the mentorship of Dr. Ric Steele, with an APA-Accredited Internship specializing in Behavioral Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

In 2012 Dr. Cushing joined the faculty of the Clinical Psychology Program, in the Department of Psychology at Oklahoma State University at the rank of Assistant Professor. After two years at OSU, he accepted an invitation to rejoin the Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas as faculty. Dr. Cushing is active in the fields of pediatric psychology and health psychology serving on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. He also an Associate Editor for Journal of Child and Family Studies.


Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology Program, University of Kansas, 2012
Residency in Psychology, Behavioral Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 2012
M.S. in Clinical Psychology, Missouri State University, 2007
B.G.S in Psychology, University of Kansas, 2005


At the broadest level of abstraction my work is about quantifying individual differences. In collaboration with students and colleagues I have found that smartphones and digital sensors (activity trackers, heart rate monitors) can provide the kinds of data that reveal rich patterns of data about a person that would be lost if we focused only on a group average. We have found that different people have different reasons that they: adhere to the medication prescribed to them, engage in physical activity, eat unhealthy foods, or experience pain. Knowing that people are so different has led us to think that our interventions should be different for each person, and perhaps even different for the same person across contexts. Therefore, we have begun the process of developing digital interventions that adapt to the changing context and person over time. We think that this work has potential to provide the right support, for the right person, at the right moment. We have found that this is a complex way to approach a problem, but we are excited to work with students or colleagues who share our passion for understanding human behavior at a very granular and individualized level.

Research Interests

  • Individual differences
  • Digital interventions
  • Intensive longitudinal data
  • Health promotion
  • Medication adherence


  • American Psychological Association, Division 54, 53, & 38
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine


Dr. Cushing teaches courses and mentors students in the Clinical Child Psychology Program and the Departments of Applied Behavioral Science and Psychology at the University of Kansas.  He will be accepting applications this fall for a new graduate student for the 2021-2022 academic year.  In years when Dr. Cushing is accepting applicants, those interested in: 1) individual differences research; 2) health behavior such as physical activity, diet, medication adherence, or sleep; and 3) development and testing of digital interventions for self-management or health promotion. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2021.

Teaching Interests

  • PSYC 333: Child Development
  • ABSC/PSYC 812: Behavior and Personality Assessment of Children
  • ABSC/PSYC 825: Social Development
  • ABSC 705: Pediatric Psychology
  • PSYC 815: Design and Analysis for Developmental Research

Selected Publications

Cushing, C. C., Bejarano, C. M., Ortega, A., Sayre, N., Fedele, D. A., & Smyth, J. M. (2021). Adaptive mHealth Intervention for Adolescent Physical Activity Promotion. Journal of Pediatric Psychology46(5), 536-546.

Cushing, C. C., Monzon, A., Ortega, A., Bejarano, C. M., & Carlson, J. A. (2019). Commentary: Identifying opportunities for pediatric eHealth and mHealth studies: Physical activity as a case example. Journal of pediatric psychology44(3), 269-274.

Cushing, C. C., Mitchell, T. B., Bejarano, C. M., Walters, R. W., Crick, C. J., & Noser, A. E. (2017). Bidirectional associations between psychological states and physical activity in adolescents: A mHealth pilot study. Journal of pediatric psychology42(5), 559-568.

Cushing, C. C., Fedele, D. A., Patton, S. R., McQuaid, E. L., Smyth, J. M., Prabhakaran, S., ... & Nezu, A. M. (2019). Responsive Asthma Care for Teens (ReACT): development protocol for an adaptive mobile health intervention for adolescents with asthma. BMJ open9(8), e030029.

Dr. Cushing's Google Scholar

Awards & Honors

2017 recipient of the Routh Early Career Award in Pediatric Psychology

Grants & Other Funded Activity

Cushing, C. C. (Co-Principal), Fedele, D. A. (Co-Principal), Fleming, K. K. (Co-Investigator), Gierer, S. (Co-Investigator), McQuaid, B. L. (Co-Investigator), Patton, S. R. (Co-Investigator), Prabhakaran, S. (Co-Investigator). ReACT an Adaptive Mobile Health Intervention for Adolescent Asthma. $775,827, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Current Status: Funded

Cushing, C. C. (Principal), Patton, S. R. (Co-Investigator), Clements, M. A. (Co-Investigator). Development of the microSMBG Platform for Adolescents with T2D. $33,000, Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles and Nutrition. Current Status: Funded

Schurman, Jennifer V. (Co-Principal), Cushing, Christopher C. (Co-Principal), Friesen, Craig A., (Co-Investigator), Precision Medicine in Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Individualized Assessment for Tailored Treatment, $38,883, Submitted 03/17/2015. Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded

Cushing, C. C. (Principal), Smartphones-Promoting Exercise Through Ecology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of HealthΓÇöDivision of Loan Repayment, Submitted 09/01/2014 (09/01/2014). Federal. Status: Funded.

Cushing, C. C. (Principal), Pathophysiology and Treatment of Pediatric Functional Abdominal Pain, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, $71,552, (02/01/2015 - 07/31/2019). Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded.

Cushing, C. C. (Principal), Dynamic Drivers of Adolescent Physical Activity, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of HealthΓÇöDivision of Loan Repayment, Submitted 09/01/2014 (09/01/2015 - 12/31/2017). Federal. Status: Funded.

Cushing, C. C. (Principal), Ecological Momentary Assessment of Affect and Health Behavior, Society of Pediatric Psychology, $20,000, Submitted 09/15/2014 (01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015). Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded.

Cushing, C. C. (Principal), Smartphones-Promoting Exercise Through Ecology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health CoDivision of Loan Repayment, Submitted 09/01/2012 (09/01/2013 - 12/31/2014). Federal. Status: Funded.