Patrick Davies

Patrick Davies

  • Professor of Psychology
  • Associate Chair, Department of Psychology

PhD, West Virginia University, 1995

452 Meliora Hall

Office Hours: By appointment


Mentorship and Advising Statement (PDF)

Research Overview

Professor Davies will be accepting applications for graduate students for the 2024-2025 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)

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

Selected Publications

(last 5 years) *denotes student authors

  • Davies, P. T., *Hentges, R. F., *Coe, J.L., *Parry, L.Q., & Sturge-Apple, M.L. (in press). Children's dove temperament as a differential susceptibility factor in child-rearing contexts. Developmental Psychology. 
  • Davies, P. T., *Thompson, M. J., *Coe, J.L., Sturge-Apple, M.L. (in press). Maternal and paternal unsupportive parenting and children's externalizing symptoms: The mediational role of children's attention biases to negative emotions. Development and Psychopathology.
  • *Thompson, M.J., Davies P.T., *Hentges, R.F., & Sturge-Apple, M.L. (in press). Delineating the developmental sequelae of children's risky involvement in interparental conflict. Development and Psychopathology.
  • *Jacques, D.T., Sturge-Apple, M.L., Davies, P.T., & Cicchetti, D. (in press). Parsing alcohol-dependent mothers' insensitivity to child distress: Longitudinal links with children's affective and anxiety problems. Developmental Psychology.
  • Davies, P.T., *Thompson, M.J., Martin, M.J. & Cummings, E. M. (in press). The vestiges of childhood interparental conflict: Adolescent sensitization to recent interparental conflict. Child Development.
  • Davies, P.T., *Coe, J.L., *Hentges, R.F., Sturge-Apple, M.L., & Ripple, M.T. (2020). Temperamental emotionality attributes as antecedents of children's social information processing. Child Development, 91, 508-526.
  • *Coe, J.L., Davies, P.T., *Hentges, R.F., & Sturge-Apple, M.L. (2020). Understanding the nature of associations between family instability, parenting difficulties, and children's externalizing symptoms. Development and Psychopathology, 32, 257-269.
  • *Thompson, M.J., Davies, P.T., Hentges, R.F., Sturges-Apple, M.L., & Parry, L.Q. (2020). Understanding how and why effortful control moderates children's vulnerability to interparental conflict. Developmental Psychology, 56, 937-950. 
  • Davies, P.T., Cicchetti, D., *Thompson, M.J., Bascoe, S.M., & Cummings, E.M. (2020). The interplay of polygenic plasticity and adrenocortical activity as sources of variability in pathways among family adversity, youth emotional reactivity, and psychological problems. Development and Psychopathology, 32, 587-603.
  • *Parry, L.Q., Davies, P.T., Sturge-Apple, M.L., & *Coe, J.L. (2020). Coparental discord and children's behavior problems: Children's negative family representations as an explanatory mechanism. Journal of Family Psychology, 34, 523-533.
  • *van Eldik, W., M., de Haan, A., *Parry, L.Q., Davies, P. T., Lujik, M., Arends, L.R., & Prinzie, P. (2020). The interparental relationship: Meta-analytic association with children's maladjustment and responses to conflict. Psychological Bulletin, 146, 553-594.
  • Davies, P.T., * Thompson, M.J., * Hentges, R. F., *Coe, J.L., & Sturge-Apple, M.L., (2020). Children's attentional biases to emotions as sources of variability in their vulnerability to interparental conflict. Developmental Psychology, 56, 1343-1359.
  • Davies, P.T., *Parry, L. Q., Bascoe, S. M., Cicchetti, D. & Cummings, E. M. (2020). Interparental conflict as a curvilinear risk factor in pathogenic cascades of emotional and adrenocortical reactivity. Developmental Psychology, 56, 1787-1802.
  • *Gao, M. M., Du, H., Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (2019). Marital conflict behaviors and parenting: Dyadic links over time. Family Relations, 68, 135-149.
  • Davies, P. T., *Thompson, M. J., *Coe, J. L., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Martin, M. J. (2019). Child response processes as mediators of the association between caregiver intimate relationship instability and children’s externalizing symptoms. Developmental Psychology, 55, 1244-1258.
  • *Coe, J. L., Davies, P. T., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (2018). Family instability and young children's school adjustment: Callousness and negative internal representations as mediators. Child Development, 89, 1193-1208.
  • Davies, P. T., *Coe, J. L., *Hentges, R. F., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Ripple, M. T. (2018). Interparental hostility and children's externalizing symptoms: Attention to anger as a mediator. Developmental Psychology, 54, 1290-1303.
  • *Coe, J. L., Davies, P. T., & Sturge-Apple, M. L. (2018). 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, 32, 289-298.
  • Davies, P. T., *Coe, J. L., *Hentges, R. F., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & van der Kloet, E. (2018). The interplay among children’s negative family representations, visual processing of negative emotions, and externalizing symptoms. Child Development, 89, 663-680.
  • *Koss, K. J., Cummings, E, M., Davies, P. T., Hetzel, S, & Cicchetti, D. (2018). Harsh parenting and serotonin transporter and BDNF Val 66 Met polymorphisms as predictors of adolescent depressive symptoms. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 27, 229-245.
  • Davies, P. T., *Martin, M. J., & Cummings, E. M. (2018). Interparental conflict and children’s social problems: Insecurity and friendship affiliation as cascading mediators. Developmental Psychology, 54, 83-97.
  • *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.
  • *Martin, M. J., Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (2017). Distinguishing attachment and affiliation in early adolescents’ narrative descriptions of their best friendship. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 27, 644-660.
  • *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.
  • *Suor, J. H., Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2017). 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, 58, 902-909.
  • 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.