Paula J. Fite, Ph.D.

Paula Fite
  • Director of Clinical Child Psychology Program
  • Professor

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Dole Human Development Center, 2012
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045


Dr. Fite is accepting applications for Fall 2024 admissions.

Dr. Fite received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 2007. Following an APA-approved Clinical Residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, she joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee. She joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 2011, and is currently a Professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science. Dr. Fite is the author or co-author of more than 200 empirical papers and chapters in her area of study. She is on the editorial board of Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. She is currently an Associate Editor for Child and Youth Care Forum. Fite is the President-elect for the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37 of APA). She served as Member at Large for Early Career Psychologists from 2014 through 2016 and Treasurer from 2018 through 2020 for the Society. She was awarded the American Psychological Foundation’s Diane J. Willis Early Career Award in 2014, the Steeples Award for Service to Kansas in 2015, the Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award in 2015, and the Byron A. Alexander Graduate Mentor Award in 2016. She is also an American Psychological Association Fellow (since 2015). In 2017 she was selected as a Docking Faculty Scholar, and she currently holds the title of Dean's Professor (since 2018).


The lab's programmatic line of research focuses on developmental models of risk for child and adolescent problem behavior. That is, we are interested in the etiology and developmental progression of child and adolescent problem behavior - aggression, delinquency and substance use in particular. Consistent with social learning theory, which posits that behavior is learned and further exacerbated through socialization processes (i.e., modeling, conditioning, and reinforcement), our research has and will continue to examine the unique and interactive impact of environmental context (e.g., neighborhood, parents, and peers) and child characteristics (e.g., genetics, temperament) on the developmental progression of child and adolescent problem behavior.

Research interests:

  • aggression
  • delinquency
  • substance use


Dr. Fite teaches courses and mentors students in the Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas. She will be accepting applications this fall for a new graduate student for the 2023-2024 academic year. Potential students interested in the development of aggression, peer victimization, delinquency, substance use and other problem behaviors are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2023.

Teaching interests:

  • antisocial youth
  • developmental psychology
  • intellectual assessment and academic achievement

Selected Publications

Fite, P. J., *Griffith, R., *Robertson, S., & *O’Dell, C. (in press). Proactive and Reactive Aggression and Substance Use Among Detained Youth. Journal of Substance Use.

Fite, P. J., *Hesse, D., & O’Dell, C. (in press). Alcohol Use and Internalizing Symptoms among High School Students: Does Parental Permission Matter? Child Psychiatry and Human Development.

Fite, P. J., Gudiño, O., *Tampke, E., & O’Dell, C. (2022). Links between Past 30-day Substance Use and Specific Charges Among Detained Youth. Child and Youth Care Forum, 51, 313-327.

Fite, P. J., *O’Dell, C., *Doyle, R., & *Tampke, E. C. (2021). Proactive and reactive aggression towards siblings versus peers. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 43,12-20.