Paula Fite

Paula Fite
  • Professor, Department of Clinical Child Psychology & Applied Behavioral Science
  • Child Language Doctoral Program

Contact Info

Dole Human Development Center, Room 2012
1000 Sunnyside Ave
Lawrence, KS 66045-7599


Dr. Fite received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 2007. Following an APA-approved Clinical Residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, she joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee. She joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 2011, and is currently a Professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science. Dr. Fite is the author or co-author of more than 100 empirical papers and chapters in her area of study. She is on the editorial board of Child Psychiatry and Human Development, the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, and Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment. Fite served as a Member-at-Large for Early Career Psychologists for the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37 of APA) from 2014 through 2016 and as Treasurer from 2018-2020. She was awarded the American Psychological Foundation’s Diane J. Willis Early Career Award in 2014, the Steeples Award for Service to Kansas in 2015, the Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award in 2015, and the Byron A. Alexander Graduate Mentor Award in 2016. She is also an American Psychological Association Fellow (since 2015). In 2017 she was selected as a Docking Faculty Scholar. She currently holds the title of Dean’s Professor.


The lab's programmatic line of research focuses on developmental models of risk for child and adolescent problem behavior. That is, we are interested in the etiology and developmental progression of child and adolescent problem behavior - aggression, delinquency and substance use in particular. Consistent with social learning theory, which posits that behavior is learned and further exacerbated through socialization processes (i.e., modeling, conditioning, and reinforcement), our research has and will continue to examine the unique and interactive impact of environmental context (e.g., neighborhood, parents, and peers) and child characteristics (e.g., genetics, temperament) on the developmental progression of child and adolescent problem behavior.

Research interests:

  • Agression
  • Delinquency
  • Substance use


Dr. Fite teaches courses and mentors students in the Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas. She will be accepting applications this fall for a new graduate student for the 2022-2023 academic year. Potential students interested in the development of aggression, peer victimization, delinquency, substance use and other problem behaviors are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2021.

Teaching interests:

  • Antisocial youth
  • Developmental psychology
  • Intellectual assessment and academic achievement

Selected Publications

Cooley, J., Blossom, J., *Tampke, E., & Fite, P. J. (in press). Emotion Regulation Attenuates the Prospective Links from Peer Victimization to Internalizing Symptoms During Middle Childhood. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

*Doyle, R., Fite, P. J. (in press). Indicators of suicidal outcomes among 6 to 12-year old treatment seeking youth. Child Psychiatry and Human Development.

*Diaz, K., Fite, P. J., *Abel, M., & *Doyle, R. (in press). Varying experiences of cyber victimization among middle and high school students. Child and Youth Care Forum.

*DiPierro-Sutton, M., Fite, P. J., Gudino, O. (in press). Assessing the links between internalizing symptoms and treatment motivation in incarcerated juveniles. Children and Youth Services Review.

*DiPierro-Sutton, M., Poquiz, J., Brown, S., Fite, P.J., and Bortolato, M. (in press). Models predicting the role of emotion reactivity in the link between reasons for not using and lifetime substance use. Journal of American College Health.

Fite, P. J., *Abel, M., *Hesse, D. R., *Griffith, R. L., & *Doyle, R. L. (in press). Links between proactive and reactive aggression and disciplinary actions among middle school-age youth. Psychology in the Schools.

Fite, P. J., *Diaz, K. I., & *Doyle, R. L. (in press). Does behavioral dysregulation moderate the links between contextual risk factors and substance use among detained youth? Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Fite, P. J., Williford, A., *Griffith, R. L., & *Parker, K. (in press). Peer victimization among detained youth: The impact of callous-unemotional traits. Child and Youth Care Forum.

McRae, E., Stoppelbein, L., O’Kelley, S., Fite, P., & Smith, S. (in press). An examination of post-traumatic stress symptoms and aggression among children with a history of adverse childhood experiences. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.

Evans, S. C., *Diaz, K. I., Callahan, K. P., Wolock, E. R., & Fite, P. J. (2021). Parallel trajectories of proactive and reactive aggression in middle childhood and their outcomes in early adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 49, 211-226.

Evans, S. C., Roberts, M. C., Keeley, J. W., Rebello, T. J., de la Peña, F., Lochman, J. E., Burke, J. D., Fite, P. J., Ezpeleta, L., Matthys, W., Youngstrom, E. A., Matsumoto, C., Andrews, H. F., Medina-Mora, M. E., Ayuso-Mateos, J. L., Khoury, B., Kulygina, M., Robles, R., Sharan, P., Zhao, M., & Reed, G. M. (2021). Diagnostic classification of irritability and oppositionality in youth: A global field study comparing ICD-11 with ICD-10 and DSM-5. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 62,303-312.

Fite, P. J., Cushing, C. C., & *O’Dell, C. (2021). Links between Functions of Aggression and E-cigarette Use among Middle School Age Youth: A Comparison with Risk for Alcohol Use. Journal of Substance Use, 26,138-143.

Fite, P. J., *O’Dell, C., *Doyle, R., & *Tampke, E. C. (2021). Proactive and reactive aggression towards siblings versus peers. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 43,12-20.

*Mildrum Chana, S., *Tampke, E., & Fite, P. J. (2021). Discrepancies between teacher and child reports of proactive and reactive aggression: Does prosocial behavior Matter. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 43, 70-83.

*Ortega, A., Cushing, C., *Sutton, M., & *McConville, A. M., & Fite, P. J. (2021). Longitudinal Investigation of the Bidirectional Associations between Initiation of E-Cigarettes and Other Substances in Adolescents. Journal of Substance Use, 26, 40-47.

*Tampke, E. & Fite., P. J. (2021). Bivariate growth of perceived containment and functions of aggression over 2 years. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 49, 325-338.

*Tampke, E. C., Fite, P. J., *Griffith, R., *Pederson, C. A., & *Abel, M. (2021). Further Evaluation of the Link between Perceived Containment and Proactive and Reactive Functions of Aggression in Detained Youth. The Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 30, 509-527.