Skip to main content


Lisa Starr

Lisa Starr

  • Assistant Professor of Psychology

PhD, Stony Brook University, 2010

491 Meliora Hall
(585) 276-6862
Fax: (585) 273-1100

Office Hours: By appointment


Research Overview

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

Dr. Starr's research centers on the origins and consequences of depression and anxiety disorders in adolescence and adulthood. These interests have developed along several interrelated pathways.

First, her work examines interpersonal and other environmental variables (e.g., stress) as causes, correlates, and consequences of depression and anxiety. Although the term "internalizing" was coined within psychopathology research to describe symptoms and disorders directed inward or toward the self, abundant research suggests that internalizing disorders also markedly impact the social environment, through the deterioration of close relationships, adaptation of interpersonally destructive behaviors, self-generation of stressors, and a range of other mechanisms. Dr. Starr's research explores processes by which depression and anxiety reciprocally influence interpersonal functioning.

Second, Dr. Starr has had a longstanding interest in the causes and implications of the extensive comorbidity between depression and anxiety disorders, including delineating their natural boundaries, identifying shared and unique features, and exploring etiologic relationships between symptoms.

Finally, a growing segment of her work explores genetic underpinnings of internalizing disorders and psychological correlates. For example, Dr. Starr is interested in how genetic factors that elevate risk for psychopathology may also impact the social environment, and how genetic risk interfaces with stress exposure to predict depression and other key outcomes. in her most recent work, she has increasingly operationalized genetic risk using biologically informed multilocus profile scores that capture polygenic risk related to specific biological systems. Some of her newest work has examined other biological factors relevant to stress exposure and internalizing disorders (e.g., neuroendocrine factors).

Methodologically Dr. Starr has a particular interest in applying intensive longitudinal designs (daily diary studies, ecological momentary assessment, etc.) to studying psychopathological processes. She has used these approaches to examine interpersonal functioning, symptom presentation, affective reactivity, and basic emotional dynamics in relation to depression and anxiety.

Selected Publications

  • Starr, L. R., Dienes, K., Stroud, C. B., Shaw, Z. A., Li, Y. I., Mlawer, F., & Huang, M. (in press). Childhood Adversity Moderates the Influence of Proximal Episodic Stress on the Cortisol Awakening Response and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents. Development and Psychopathology.
  • Starr, L. R., Hershenberg, R., Li, Y. I., & Shaw, Z. A. (in press). When Feelings Lack Precision: Low Positive and Negative Emotion Differentiation and Depressive Symptoms in Daily Life. Clinical Psychological Science. Accepted for publication 26 Jan 2017.
  • Starr, L. R., & Hershenberg, R. (in press). Depressive Symptoms and the Anticipation and Experience of Uplifting Events in Everyday Life: A Daily Diary Study. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Accepted for publication 4 Dec 2016.
  • Conway, C. C., Starr, L. R., Espejo, E. P., Brennan, P. A., & Hammen, C. (2016). Stress appraisal bias and the transdiagnostic structure of internalizing and externalizing disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(8), 1079-1089.
  • Starr, L. R., & Hammen, C. (2016). Genetic moderation of the association between adolescent romantic involvement and depression: Contributions of serotonin transporter gene polymorphism, chronic stress, and family discord. Development and Psychopathology, 28(2), 447-457.
  • Starr, L. R., Stroud, C. B., & Li, Y. I. (2016). Negative anxiety response styles as a moderator of the prospective association between anxiety and depression among adolescent girls.Journal of Affective Disorders, 190, 757–763.
  • Starr, L. R. (2015). When support seeking backfires: Co-rumination, excessive reassurance seeking, and depressed mood in the daily lives of young adults. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 34(5), 436-457.
  • Thompson, S., Hammen, C., Starr, L. R., & Najman, J. (2014). Oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism (rs53576) moderates the intergenerational transmission of depression. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 43, 11-19.
  • Starr, L. R., Hammen, C., Conway, C. C., Raposa, E., & Brennan, P. A. (2014). Sensitizing effect of early adversity on depressive reactions to later proximal stress: Moderation by polymorphisms in serotonin transporter and corticotropin releasing hormone receptor genes in a 20-year longitudinal study. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 1241-1254.
  • Starr, L. R., Hammen, C., Connolly, N. P., & Brennan, P. A. (2014). Does Relational Dysfunction Mediate the Association between Anxiety Disorders and Later Depression? Testing an Interpersonal Model of Comorbidity. Depression & Anxiety, 31, 77-86. doi: 10.1002/da.22172
  • Starr, L. R., Conway, C. C., Hammen, C., & Brennan, P. A. (2014). Transdiagnostic and disorder-specific models of intergenerational transmission of internalizing pathology. Psychological Medicine, 44, 161-174. doi: 10.1017/S003329171300055X
  • Starr, L. R., Hammen, C., Brennan, P. A., & Najman, J. M. (2013). Relational security moderates the effect of serotonin transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) on stress generation and depression among adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 379-388. doi: 10.1007/s10802-012-9682-z
  • Starr, L. R., Hammen, C., Brennan, P. A., & Najman, J. M. (2012). Serotonin transporter gene as a predictor of stress generation in depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121(4), 810-818. doi: 10.1037/a0027952
  • Starr, L. R., Donenberg, G. R., & Emerson, E. (2012). Bidirectional linkages between psychological symptoms and sexual activities among african american adolescent girls in psychiatric care. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 41(6), 811-821. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2012.694607
  • Starr, L. R. & Davila, J. (2012). Cognitive and interpersonal moderators of daily co-occurrence between anxious and depressed moods in generalized anxiety disorder. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(6), 655-669.
  • Starr, L. R., & Davila, J. (2012). Temporal patterns of anxious and depressed mood in generalized anxiety disorder: A daily diary study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50, 131-141. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2011.11.005
  • Starr, L. R., & Davila, J. (2012). Responding to anxiety with rumination and hopelessness: Mechanism of anxiety-depression symptom co-occurrence? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(4), 321-337. doi: 10.1007/s10608-011-9363-1
  • Starr, L. R., Davila, J., Stroud, C. B., Li, P. C. C., Yoneda, A., Hershenberg, R., & Miller, M. R. (2012). Love hurts (in more ways than one): Specificity of psychological symptoms as predictors and consequences of romantic activity among early adolescent girls. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68(4), 403-420. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20862
  • Starr, L. R., & Davila, J. (2009). Clarifying co-rumination: Associations with internalizing symptoms and romantic involvement among adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescence, 32(1), 19-37. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2007.12.005
  • Davila, J., Stroud, C. B., Starr, L. R., Miller, M. R., Yoneda, A. C., & Hershenberg, R. (2009). Romantic and sexual activities, parent-adolescent stress, and depressive symptoms among early adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescence, 32, 909-924. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.10.004
  • Starr, L. R., & Davila, J. (2008). Excessive reassurance seeking, depression, and interpersonal rejection: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117(4), 762-775. doi: 10.1037/a0013866
  • Starr, L. R., & Davila, J. (2008). Differentiating interpersonal correlates of depressive symptoms and social anxiety in adolescence: Implications for models of comorbidity. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(2), 337-349.doi: 10.1080/15374410801955854