Assistant Professor
916 Building
(205) 934-7861

Research Interests: Transportation safety across the lifespan (teens, older adults, developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury), cognitive development and injury prevention, translational research, virtual reality/simulation methods
Despina StavrinosTeaching Interests: Undergraduate statistics, research methods and design, adolescent development

Dr. Stavrinos will be reviewing applications to admit new graduate students for Fall 2017 admission. Deadline for UAB Graduate School applications is November 30.

Office Hours: By appointment

  • BS, University of Alabama
  • MA, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Developmental Psychology
  • PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Developmental Psychology
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB Injury Control Research Center, UAB University Transportation Center, UAB Department of Medicine

Dr. Stavrinos is the Director of the Translational Research for Injury Prevention (TRIP) Laboratory. The TRIP Lab offers students at various levels of training (high school, undergraduate, graduate, post-doc) and from various disciplines (e.g., psychology, medicine, public health, engineering, computer science) the opportunity to conduct high quality behavioral research. Since its establishment in 2009, nearly 100 students have been trained under Stavrinos’ mentorship.

Experiential learning is one of the key principles guiding Dr. Stavrinos’ teaching philosophy. She is a firm believer that students learn best when they actively participate, whether in a research or classroom setting. Within a research context, experiential learning takes place when students are actively involved in all aspects of the research process. Under her direction, students:
  • assist with the development of protocols
  • recruit research participants
  • run participants through experimental protocols
  • process and enter data into statistical software
  • disseminate research findings through presentations at scientific conferences and publications in scientific journals.
These experiences challenge students to truly grasp what research is all about, from start to finish, and they reflect on these experiences through weekly writing assignments and presentations. Dr. Stavrinos provides constructive feedback in a timely manner, and fellow students also provide comments to each other, thus providing a bidirectional opportunity for learning; those providing feedback further their understanding and advance their critical thinking skills, and those receiving feedback learn how to accept critiques from multiple perspectives. Experiential learning enables students to develop a strong research skill set they can apply towards future work.

For more information about the TRIP Lab, please visit our website at

TRIP Lab 2016 group photoCurriculum Vitae

For the past decade Dr. Stavrinos has been conducting research in transportation, for which she has received funding from multiple federal agencies including NIH, NSF, CDC, and USDOT. The focus of her research program is the prevention and control of unintentional injuries, particularly those resulting from motor vehicle crashes, the leading killer of people ages 5-34. Dr. Stavrinos’ research considers the broad context of unintentional injury prevention and control, and in particular examines driving in at-risk populations, including novice, teen drivers, distracted drivers, drivers with developmental disabilities such as ADHD and Autism, and older drivers. Dr. Stavrinos employs a variety of methodologies to study driving behavior, including driving simulation, self-report surveys, police crash reports, and naturalistic (observational) data capture.

UAB Driving SimulatorAs seen on TODAY Show and CNN (Photo by Steve Wood)
  • *Decker, J.S., *Stannard, S.J., *McManus, B., *Wittig, S.M.O., Sisiopiku, V.P., Stavrinos, D. (2015). The impact of billboards on driver visual attention: A systematic literature review. Traffic Injury Prevention, 16, 234-39.
  • *Garner, A.A., *Gentry, A.N., *Welburn, S.C., Fine, P.R., Franklin, C.A., Stavrinos, D. (2014). Symptom dimensions of disruptive behavior disorders in adolescent drivers. Journal of Attention Disorders, 18(6), 496-503.
  • Stavrinos, D., *Jones, J.L., *Garner, A.A., Griffin, R., Franklin, C.A., Ball, D., *Welburn, S.C., Ball, K.K., Sisiopiku, V.P., Fine, P.R. (2013). Impact of distracted driving on safety and traffic flow. Accident Analysis and Prevention (Special Issue: Emerging Research Methods and Their Application to Road Safety), 61, 63-70.
  • Schwebel, D.C., Stavrinos, D., Byington, K.W., Davis, T., O’Neal, E.E., de Jong, D. (2012). Distraction and pedestrian safety: How talking on the phone, texting, and listening to music impact crossing the street. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 45, 266-71.
  • Stavrinos, D., Biasini, F.J., Fine, P.R., Hodgens, J.B., Khatri, S., Mrug, S., Schwebel, D.C. (2011). Mediating factors associated with pedestrian injury in children with ADHD. Pediatrics, 128(2), 296-302.
  • *Garner, A.A., Franklin, C.A., Fine, P.R., Sattin, R., Stavrinos, D. (2011). Distracted driving among adolescents: challenges and opportunities. Injury Prevention, 17(4), 285.
  • Stavrinos, D., Byington, K.W., Schwebel, D.C. (2011). Distracted walking: Cell phones increase injury risk for college pedestrians. Journal of Safety Research, 42 (2), 101-7.
  • Stavrinos, D., Byington, K.W., Schwebel, D.C. (2009). The effect of cell phone distraction on pediatric pedestrian injury risk. Pediatrics, 123(2), e179-e185.
  • Stavrinos, D., Schwebel, D.C. (2009) "The role of psychology in injury prevention efforts," Injury Prevention, 15(1), 69.
(* indicates a trainee co-author)
  • 2016 Society of Pediatric Psychology Routh Early Career Award
  • Appointed Member of National Academies of Science Transportation Research Board Operator Education and Regulation Subcommittee
  • Department of Transportation Dwight D. Eisenhower Fellow
  • Society for Public Health Education Injury Prevention Fellow
  • Society for Pediatric Psychology/CDC Injury Prevention Research Award
  • Association for Psychological Science
  • Society for Pediatric Psychology