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Despina Stavrinos.

Adjunct Professor

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Research Interests: Developmental methods and advanced technologies to study driver behavior to inform transportation science and promote mobility and safety

Teaching Interests: Adolescent development, cognitive development, research methods and design, psychology of driving

Dr. Stavrinos will be reviewing applications to admit new graduate students for Fall 2022 admission. Deadline for UAB Graduate School applications is December 15.

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.S., University of Alabama
  • M.A., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Developmental Psychology
  • Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Developmental Psychology
  • Postdoc, University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB Injury Control Research Center, UAB University Transportation Center, UAB Department of Medicine

Dr. Despina Stavrinos is a professor of psychology and is founder and director of the Translational Research for Injury Prevention (TRIP) Laboratory. Her program of research focuses broadly on the context of unintentional injury prevention and control with a strong focus on transportation-related issues from a cognitive and developmental perspective.

Over the past decade, Dr. Stavrinos has served as PI on grants from NIH, CDC, DOT, and industry totaling over $7 million. Currently, Dr. Stavrinos is PI on 2 longitudinal studies funded by NIH. REACT is examining driving attention among newly licensed adolescents. Findings will shape policy regarding the optimal age and experience for licensure. R2DRV is evaluating the effects of mild traumatic brain injury on teen driving performance to inform clinical practice guidelines on when teens can safely return to drive. Under Dr. Stavrinos’ leadership, the TRIP Lab acquired the first SUV driving simulator in the world through partnerships with Honda Manufacturing of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Transportation. The simulator has been featured on the TODAY show and CNN.

For more information about the TRIP Lab, please visit her lab website or google scholar page.

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  • Select Publications

    (* indicates trainee co-author)

    • *Bednarz, H.M., Kana, R., *Svancara, A.M., *Sherrod, G., & Stavrinos, D. (in press, 2021). Neuropsychological predictors of driving hazard detection in autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. Child Neuropsychology.
    • Freed, S.A., Ross, L.A., Gamaldo, A.A., & Stavrinos, D. (in press, 2021). Use of multilevel modeling to examine variability of distracted driving behavior in naturalistic driving studies. Accident Analysis and Prevention.
    • *Beck, H.B., *McManus, B., & Stavrinos, D. (in press, 2021). Longitudinal associations between internalizing symptoms and driving avoidance in newly licensed adolescents. Journal of Clinical Psychology.
    • *McManus, B., Underhill, A., Mrug, S., Anthony, T., & Stavrinos, D. (in press, 2021). Gender moderates the relationship between media use and sleep quality. Journal of Sleep Research.
    • Hinnant, B. & Stavrinos, D. (2020). Rewards decrease risky decisions for adolescent drivers: Implications for crash prevention. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 74, 272-279.
    • Stavrinos, D., *McManus, B., Mrug, S., He, H., *Gresham, B., *Albright, M.G., *Svancara, A.M., Whittington, C., Underhill, A., White, D.M. (2020). Adolescent driving behavior before and during restrictions related to COVID-19. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 144, 105686.
    • Stavrinos, D., Yang, J., Kerwin, T., *McManus, B., *Bell, T.R., Newton, A., & Singichetti, B. (2019). Driving simulator performance in the acute post-injury phase following a mild traumatic brain injury among young drivers. In Proceedings of the 10th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design. pp. 168-174, Santa Fe, NM.

    To learn more about Dr. Stavrinos’ research, visit her Google Scholar page and the TRIP Laboratory website

  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Faculty Fellow in Undergraduate Research, 2019
    • Elected Chair of the Alabama Head and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Advisory Board, 2018 -
    • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship, 2017
    • Society of Pediatric Psychology Routh Early Career Award, 2016
    • Appointed Member of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences Standing Committee on Vehicle User Education, Training, and Licensing