Dr. Paula J. Fite

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Applied Behavioral Science, Psychology
Professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science
Primary office:
Dole Human Development Center, 2012
University of Kansas
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045-7555


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 150 empirical papers and chapters in her area of study. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 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 she is currently serving as the Treasurer of the Society. 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, and she currently holds the title of Dean's Professor (since 2018).



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 2020-2021 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, 2019.

Teaching Interests

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


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

  • Aggression
  • Delinquency
  • Substance use

Selected Publications

Williford, A., Fite, P., DePaolis, K., Cooley, J., Hawley, P., & Isen, D. (2019). A Comprehensive Training Initiative for Educators to Develop and Implement Effective Anti-Bullying Policies in K-12 Schools [Journal Articles]. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 35, 146–175.
Fite, P., Pederson, C., & Griffith, R. (2019). Further Evaluation of Factors Associated with Restrictive Housing among Detained Youth [Journal Articles]. Child and Youth Care Forum, 48, 849–864.
Fite, P., Pederson, C., Tampke, E., Diaz, K., & DiPierro, M. (2019). Links between Perceived Containment and Reactive and Proactive Functions of Aggression among Detained Youth: Does Behavioral Inhibition and/or Activation Matter? [Journal Articles]. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 41, 317–328.
Fite, P., Cooley, J., Poquiz, J., & Willilford, A. (2019). Pilot Evaluation of a Targeted Intervention for Peer Victimized Youth [Journal Articles]. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75, 46–65.
Fite, P., Brown, S., Hossain, W., Manzardo, A., Butler, M., & Bortolato, M. (2019). Tobacco and cannabis use in college students are predicted by sex-dimorphic interactions between MAOA genotype and child abuse. [Journal Articles]. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 25, 101–111.
Cooley, J., Fite, P., & Pederson, C. (2018). Bidirectional associations between peer victimization and functions of aggression in middle childhood: Further evaluation across informants and academic years [Journal Articles]. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 46, 99–111. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-017-0283-8

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Selected Work

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