Skip to main content


Patrick Davies

Patrick Davies

  • Professor of Psychology

PhD, West Virginia University, 1995

452 Meliora Hall
(585) 273-4672

Office Hours: By appointment


Research Overview

Professor Davies will be accepting applications for graduate students for the 2020-21 academic year.

My broad area of interest lies in children's socioemotional adaptation and maladaptation within the context of close interpersonal relationships especially in family contexts. My three primary research aims are as follows:

(1) I am interested in understanding how and why children exposed to family adversity exhibit a heightened vulnerability to psychopathology. We focus specifically on understanding how children’s emotional, behavioral, and physiological responses to family stress help to account for why  they are at specific risk for experiencing problems in homes characterized by interparental conflict, parent-child discord, family instability, family-level problems (e.g., enmeshment, disengagement), and parental psychopathology.

(2) My second interest involves identifying the different sources of variability in the outcomes of children from adverse home environments. Therefore, I seek to identify the potential conditions that shape children’s adaptation to family adversity as sources of resilience or vulnerability. Central factors in our search include family dynamics, extrafamilial attributes (e.g., peers), child psychological characteristics (e.g., temperament, success in resolving developmental tasks), and child physiological (e.g., cortisol, alpha amylase), and genetic mechanisms.

(3) My third interest lies in developing new ways of identifying children’s temperament characteristics based on how they hang together to form higher-order patterns (e.g., sensitivity). A key part of this research direction involves examining how these novel approaches inform an understanding of children’s trajectories of psychological and physiological functioning.

In addressing the three research aims, we continually develop, refine, and use theories as guides to developing programmatic research questions (e.g., emotional security theory, family systems theory). We also seek to develop and use novel ways of assessing family and child functioning. Therefore, we typically use multiple measurement occasions, methods, and levels of analysis to better understand children’s growth and adjustment (e.g., observations of family and child functioning, physiological responses, molecular genetics, eye tracking, semi-structured interviews, clinical interviews, cognitive assessments).

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • CSP 289:  Developmental Child Psychopathology
  • CSP 377 and 378:  Exploring Research in Family Psychology I and II
  • CSP 560:  Family Processes in Childhood
  • CSP 562:  Developmental Research Methods

Selected Publications

*denotes student authors

  • *Coe, J. L., Davies, P. T., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (in press). Family instability and young children's school adjustment: Callousness and negative internal representations as mediators. Child Development.
  • *Coe, J. L., Davies, P. T., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (in press). How close is too close? Family cohesion versus enmeshment as moderators of associations between interparental relationship instability and young children's externalizing problems. Journal of Family Psychology.
  • Davies, P. T., *Martin, M. J., & Cummings, E. M. (in press). Interparental conflict and children’s social problems: Insecurity and friendship affiliation as cascading mediators. Developmental Psychology.
  • Davies, P. T., *Coe, J. L., *Hentges, R. F., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & van der Kloet, E. (in press). The interplay among children’s negative family representations, visual processing of negative emotions, and externalizing symptoms. Child Development.
  • *Koss, K. J., Cummings, E, M., Davies, P. T., Hetzel, S, & Cicchetti, D. (in press). Harsh parenting and serotonin transporter and BDNF Val 66 Met polymorphisms as predictors of adolescent depressive symptoms. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
  • *Martin, M. J., Davies, P. T., Cummings, E. M., & Cicchetti, D.  (in press). Executive functioning difficulties mediate children’s histories of emotional insecurity and adolescent school problems. Development and Psychopathology.
  • *Martin, M. J., Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (in press). Distinguishing attachment and affiliation in early adolescents’ narrative descriptions of their best friendship. Journal of Research on Adolescence.
  • *Martin, M. J., Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., & Romero, C. V. (in press). Mothers’ implicit representations of their adolescent as unlovable: Explanatory factor linking family conflict and harsh parenting. Developmental Psychology.
  • *Sour, J. H., Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (in press). A life history approach to delineating how harsh environments and Hawk temperament shape children’s cognitive problem-solving skills. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
  • *Coe, J. L., Davies, P. T., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (2017). The multivariate roles of family instability and interparental conflict in predicting children’s representations in the family system and early school adjustment problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 45, 211-224.
  • *Koss, K. J., Cummings, E. M., & Davies, P. T. (2017). Patterns of adolescent regulatory responses during family conflict and mental health trajectories. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 27, 229-245.
  • Davies, P. T., *Martin, M. J., Sturge-Apple, M. L., Ripple, M. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2016). Delineating the sequelae of children's coping with interparental conflict. Testing the reformulated emotional security theory. Developmental Psychology, 52,1646-1665.
  • Davies, P. T., *Hentges, R. F., *Coe, J. L., *Martin, M. J., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Cummings, E. M. (2016). The multiple faces of interparental conflict: Implications for cascades of children’s insecurity and externalizing problems. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125, 664-678.
  • Davies, P. T., *Hentges, R. F., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (2016). Identifying the temperamental roots of children’s patterns of security in the interparental relationship. Development and Psychopathology, 28, 355-370.
  • Davies, P. T., *Martin, M. J., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (2016). Emotional security theory and developmental psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti (Ed.), Developmental Psychopathology: Vol. 1. Theory and Methods (3rd ed., 199-264). New York: Wiley.
  • Davies, P. T., *Martin, M. J., *Coe, J. L., & Cummings, E. M. (2016).  Transactional cascades of destructive interparental conflict, children’s emotional insecurity, and psychological problems across childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 28, 653-671.
  • Davies, P. T., *Coe, J. L., *Martin, M. J., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Cummings, E.M.  (2015). The developmental costs and benefits of children’s involvement in interparental conflicts. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1026-1047.
  • *Hentges, R. F., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2015). Temperament and interparental conflict: The role of negative emotionality in predicting child behavioral problems. Child Development, 86, 1333-1350.
  • Davies, P. T., Sturge-Apple, M. L., *Bascoe, S. M., & Cummings, E. M. (2014). The legacy of early insecurity histories in shaping adolescent adaptation to interparental conflict. Child Development, 85, 338-354.
  • *Manning, L. G., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2014) Interparental violence and early childhood adjustment: A mediated moderation examination of maternal sensitivity as a protective factor. Child Development, 85, 2263-2278.
  • Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2014). How and why does the 5-HTTLPR gene moderate associations between maternal unresponsiveness and children’s problems? Child Development, 85, 484-500.
  • *Martin, M. J., Davies, P. T., & *MacNeill, L. (2014). Social defense: An evolutionary-developmental model of children’s strategies for coping with threat in the peer group. Evolutionary Psychology, 12, 364-385.
  • Davies, P. T., *Manning, L. G., & Cicchetti, D (2013). Tracing the developmental cascade of children’s insecurity in the interparental relationship: The role of stage-salient tasks. Child Development, 84, 297-312.
  • Davies, P. T., & *Martin, M. J. (2013). The reformulation of emotional security theory: The role of children’s social defense in developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 1435-1454.
  • Davies, P. T., Cicchetti, D., *Hentges, R. F., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (2013). The genetic precursors and the advantageous and disadvantageous sequelae of inhibited temperament: An evolutionary perspective. Developmental Psychology, 49, 2285-2300.
  • Davies, P. T., Cicchetti, D., & *Martin, M. J. (2012). Towards greater specificity identifying associations among interparental aggression, child emotional reactivity to conflict, and child problems. Child Development, 83, 1789-1804. 
  • Davies, P. T., *Martin, M. J., & Cicchetti, D. (2012). Delineating the sequealae of destructive and constructive interparental conflict for children within an evolutionary framework. Developmental Psychology, 48, 939-955.
  • *Bascoe, S. M., Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (2012). Beyond warmth and conflict: The developmental utility of a boundary conceptualization of sibling relationship processes. Child Development, 83, 2121-2138.