Eric Vernberg

Eric Vernberg
  • Investigator, Life Span Institute
  • Professor, Department of Applied Behavioral Science

Contact Info

Dole Human Development Center, Room 2016
1000 Sunnyside Ave
Lawrence, KS 66045-7599


Dr. Vernberg received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia in 1988. Following an APA-approved Clinical Internship at the Children’s Hospital National Medical Center (Washington, DC), he joined the faculty of the University of Miami. He joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1993 as a core faculty member in the newly-established Clinical Child Psychology Program, and is currently a Professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science. Dr. Vernberg is the author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters in his area of study. His empirical work is supported by numerous grants and research contracts, including grants from FEMA/US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of Education, SAMHSA, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Vernberg serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and has co-written or co-edited several books, including Helping Children Cope with Disasters and Terrorism (2002, American Psychological Association), Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide (2006; NCTSN and NCPTSD), Skills for Psychological Recovery Field Operations (2010, NCTSN & NCPTSD), and Preventing and Treating Bullying and Victimization (2010; Oxford University Press). Dr. Vernberg has received University awards for his teaching, mentoring, and service, including the Teaching Achievement Recognition Award from the KU Center for Teaching Excellence (2011), the W. T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence (2003), and the Wally and Marie Steeples Faculty Award for Outstanding Service to the People of Kansas (2003).


Dr. Eric Vernberg's research program involves applying and advancing psychological science to solve real world problems faced by children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Vernberg is committed to generating knowledge that can be used to guide treatment and preventive interventions. His research activities focus on three areas:

1. Psychological impact of terrorism, disasters, and violence on children and adolescents

2. Peer relationships, including friendship development and bully-victim-bystander problems

3. Development and dissemination of evidence-based interventions for children and adolescents.

Selected Publications

Hambrick, E. P., Vernberg, E. M., Greenhoot, A. F., & Hendrickson, M. L. (2017). Recalling a devastating tornado: Qualities of child recollections and association with mental health symptoms. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma.

Manring, S. Elledge, L. C., Swails, L. W., & Vernberg, E. M. (2017). Functions of aggression and peer victimization in elementary school children: The mediating role of social preference. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

Kolko, D. J., & Vernberg, E. M. (2017). Programs That WorkAssessment and Intervention with Children and Adolescents Who Misuse Fire: Practitioner Guide, New York, NY.

Lochman, J. E., Vernberg, E. M., Powell, N. Boxmeyer, C. Jarrett, M. McDonald, K. Qu, L. Hendrickson, M. L., & Kassing, F. (2017). Pre-post tornado effects on aggressive childrenΓÇÖs psychological and behavioral adjustment through one year postdisaster., 46, 136-149.

Vernberg, E. M., Hambrick, E. P., Cho, B. & Hendrickson, M. L. (2016). Positive Psychology and Disaster Mental Health: Strategies for Working with Children and Adolescents. Journal of clinical psychology.

Hambrick, E. P., O'Connor, B. M., & Vernberg, E. M. (2016). Interview and recollection-based research with child disaster survivors: Participation-related changes in emotion and perceptions of participation. Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy8(2), 165-71.

Fite, P. J., Gabrielli, J. Cooley, J. L., Rubens, S. L., Pederson, C. A., & Vernberg, E. M. (2016). Associations Between Physical and Relational Forms of Peer Aggression and Victimization and Risk for Substance Use Among Elementary School-Age Youth. Journal of child & adolescent substance abuse25(1), 1-10.

Legerski, J. Greenhoot, A. F., Vernberg, E. M., La Greca, A. M., & Silverman, W. K. (2015). Longitudinal Analysis of ChildrenΓÇÖs Internal States Language and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Following a Natural Disaster. Applied Cognitive Psychology29(1), 91-103.

Rubens, S. L., Felix, E. D., Vernberg, E. M., & Canino, G. (2014). The Role of Peers in the Relation Between Hurricane Exposure and Ataques de Nervios Among Puerto Rican Adolescents. Psychological Truama: Theory. Practice, and Policy6, 716-723.

Hambrick, E. P., Rubens, S. L., Vernberg, E. M., Jacobs, A. K., & Kanine, R. M. (2014). Towards Successful Dissemination of Psychological First Aid: A Study of Provider Training Preferences. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research41(2), 203-215.

Vernberg, E. M., & Hambrick, E. P. (2013). Helping people cope with disasters. In G. Koocher, J. C. Norcross, & B. A. Greene (Eds.), PsychologistΓÇÖs desk reference (3rd ed.) (pp. 711-716). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

La Greca, A. M., Lai, B. S., Llabre, M. M., Silverman, W. K., Vernberg, E. M., & Prinstein, M. J. (2013). Children's Postdisaster Trajectories of PTS Symptoms: Predicting Chronic Distress. Child & youth care forum42(4), 351-369.

Felix, E. You, S. Vernberg, E. & Canino, G. (2013). Family influences on the long term post-disaster recovery of Puerto Rican youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology41, 111-124.

Fite, P. J., Williford, A. Cooley, J. L., DePaolis, K. Rubens, S. L., & Vernberg, E. M. (2013). Patterns of victimization lcations in elementary school children: Effects of grade level and gender. Child and Youth Care Forum42, 585-597.

Rubens, S. L., Vernberg, E. M., Felix, E. D., & Canino, G. (2013). Peer deviance, social support, and symptoms of internalizing disorders among youth exposed to Hurricane Georges. Psychiatry76(2), 169-81.

Puddy, R. W., Roberts, M. C., Vernberg, E. M., Erin, P. & Hambrick, E. P. (2012). Service coordination and children's functioning in a school-based intensive mental health program. Journal of Child and Family Studies21, 948-962.

Biggs, B. K., Vernberg, E. M., & Wu, Y. P. (2012). Social anxiety and adolescents' friendships: The role of social withdrawal. Journal of Early Adolescence32, 802-823.

Legerski, J. P., Vernberg, E. M., & Noland, B. J. (2012). A qualitative analysis of barriers, challenges, and successes in meeting the needs of Hurricane Katrina evacuee families. Community mental health journal48(6), 729-40.

Twemlow, S. W., Fonagy, P. Sacco, F. C., Vernberg, E. M., & Malcom, J. M. (2011). Reducing violence and prejudice in a Jamaican all age school using attachment and mentalization theory. Psychoanalytic Psychology28, 497-511.

Vernberg, E. M., Nelson, T. D., Fonagy, P. & Twemlow, S. W. (2011). Victimization, aggression, and visits to the school nurse for somatic complaints, illnesses, and physical injuries. Pediatrics127(5), 842-8.

Stuart, W. Twemlow, S. W., Vernberg, E. M., Fonagy, P. Biggs, B. K., Nelson, J. M., Nelson, T. D., & Sacco, F. C. (2010). A school climate intervention that reduces bullying by a focus on the bystander audience rather than the bully and victim: The Peaceful Schools Project of the Menninger Clinic and Baylor College of Medicine. In S. R. Jimerson, S. M. Swearer, & D. L. Espelage (Eds.), The International Handbook of School Bullying (pp. 365-375). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Vernberg, E. M., & Biggs, B. K. (2010). Preventing and treating bullying and victimization: An evidence-based approach. In E. M. Vernberg & B. K. Biggs (Eds.), Preventing and treating bullying and victimization (pp. 3-16). New York: Oxford University Press.

Biggs, B. K., & Vernberg, E. M. (2010). Preventing and treating bullying and victimization: Best practices and future directions. In E. M. Vernberg & B. K. Biggs (Eds.), Preventing and treating bullying and victimization (pp. 337-355). New York: Oxford University Press.

Varela, R. E., Hensley, L. S., & Vernberg, E. M. (2010). Social and community responses: Assessing relationships among environmental supports in child and caregiver adjustment following a hurricane. In R. P. Kilmer, V. Gil-Rivas, R. G. Tedeschi, & L. G. Calhoun (Eds.), Meeting the needs of children, families, and communities post-disaster: Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath (pp. 193-213). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Vernberg, E. M. & Biggs, B. K. (Eds.). (2010). Preventing and Treating Bullying and Victimization (E. M. Vernberg & B. K. Biggs, Eds.). Oxford University Press.

Berkowitz, S. Bryant, R. Brymer, M. Hamblen, J. Jacobs, A. Layne, C. Macy, R. Osofsky, H. Pynoos, R. Ruzek, J. Steinberg, A. Vernberg, E. & Watson, P. (2010). Skills for Psychological Recovery: Field Operations Guide, Los Angeles, CA.

Biggs, B. K., Vernberg, E. M., Fonagy, P. Twemlow, S. W., Little, T. D., & Dill, E. J. (2010). Peer victimization trajectories and their association with children's affect in late elementary school. International Journal of Behavioral Development34, 136-146.

Allen, B. Brymer, M. J., Steinberg, A. M., Vernberg, E. M., Jacobs, A. K., Speier, A. H., & Pynoos, R. S. (2010). Perceptions of Psychological First Aid among providers responding to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Journal of Traumatic Stress23, 509-513.

Felix, E. Vernberg, E. M., Pfefferbaum, R. Gill, D. C., Schorr, J. Boudreaux, A. Gurwitch, R. H., Galea, S. & Pfefferbaum, B. (2010). Schools in the shadow of terrorism: Psychosocial adjustment and interest in interventions following terror attacks. Psychology in the Schools47, 592-605.

Powell, J. L., Hunter, H. L., Beasley, L. O., & Vernberg, E. M. (2010). Using fine-grained indices of therapists' experience and training to predict treatment outcomes in a university-based training clinic for children and families. Training and Education in Professional Psychology4, 138-144.

Twemlow, S. W., Vernberg, E. Fonagy, P. Biggs, B. K., Nelson, J. M., Nelson, T. D., & Sacco, F. C. (2009). A School Climate Intervention that Reduces Bullying by a Focus on the Bystander Audience Rather than the Bully and Victim. (pp. 365). Routledge.

Brymer, M. J., Steinberg, A. M., Vernberg, E. M., Layne, C. M., Watson, P. J., Jacobs, A. K., Ruzek, J. I., & Pynoos, R. S. (2009). Acute interventions for children and adolescents exposed to trauma. In E. Foa, T. Keane, M. Friedman, & J. Cohen (Eds.), Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice Guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2nd ed.) (pp. 106-116). New York: Guilford.

Grants & Other Funded Activity

Lochman, John L., (Principal), Vernberg, Eric M, (Principal), Natural disaster effects on aggressive children and their caretakers: Outcomes across time, 1R01HD079273, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentThe University of Alabama Tuscaloosa is the lead recipient of the grant, which was submitted in a multiple PI format, $1,970,455, (09/20/2013 - 09/20/2018) . Federal. Status: Funded.