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Sylvie Mrug.

University Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
HMB 195
(205) 934-3850

Research Interests: Development of behavioral and emotional problems in adolescence; long-term effects of adolescent stress on health in adulthood and mediating physiological processes

Office Hours: By appointment


  • M.A., Charles University, Clinical Psychology
  • M.S., Purdue University, Clinical Psychology
  • M.S., Purdue University, Applied Statistics
  • Ph.D., Purdue University, Clinical Psychology

My research examines the interplay of risk and protective factors in the development of behavioral and emotional problems in adolescence, including antisocial behavior, substance use, depression and anxiety. We also study the long-term effects of adolescent experiences on mental and physical health in adulthood, as well as relevant physiological processes such as DNA methylation and inflammation.

Most of my work has focused on the effects of violence exposure and peer influences in conjunction with other individual and contextual risk factors, such as pubertal timing, temperament, stress reactivity, parental practices, and broader influences of schools and neighborhoods.

I have directed four longitudinal studies that have followed community samples of youth through adolescence and into young adulthood: Birmingham Youth Violence Study, Coping with Violence, Healthy Passages, and the Adolescent Diet Study. In collaboration with my students, we also studied adjustment to chronic illness among adolescents and young adults and we developed a spiritual coping intervention for young people with cystic fibrosis.

My research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Education Sciences. I was an associate editor for the Journal of Early Adolescence for five years and currently serve on editorial boards of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology and the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

I am available to work with graduate students in all three graduate programs (Medical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Behavioral Neuroscience). For the next academic year, we are looking for applicants interested in studying physiological mechanisms that may explain the long-term effects of adolescent stress on adult health, such as DNA methylation and inflammation.

Our lab also provides opportunities for undergraduate students interested in gaining research experience with diverse populations of adolescents and young adults.

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  • Recent Courses
    • PY 719: Multivariate Statistics
    • PY 727: Longitudinal Data Analysis
    • PY 729: Adolescent Development
    • PY 791: Structural Equation Modeling
  • Select Publications
    • Adams, J., Mrug, S., & Knight, D.C. (2018). Characteristics of child physical and sexual abuse as predictors of psychopathology. Child Abuse and Neglect.
    • Guo, J., Mrug, S., & Knight, D.C. (2017). Emotion socialization as a predictor of physiological and psychological responses to stress. Physiology and Behavior, 175, 119-129.
    • King, V.L., & Mrug, S. (2016). The effects of violence exposure on African American adolescents’ academic achievement: Emotion regulation as a protective factor. Journal of Early Adolescence.
    • Reynolds, N., Mrug, S., Wolfe, K., Schwebel, D., & Wallander, J. (2016). Spiritual coping, psychosocial adjustment, and physical health in youth with chronic illness: A meta-analytic review. Health Psychology Review, 10, 226-243.
    • Mrug, S., Tyson, A., Turan, B., & Granger, D.A. (2016). Sleep problems predict cortisol reactivity to stress in urban adolescents. Physiology and Behavior, 155, 95-101.
    • Mrug, S., Madan, A., & Windle, M. (2016). Emotional desensitization to violence contributes to adolescents’ violent behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 75-86.