Faculty & Staff

Abbey Eisenhower, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts


Areas of Expertise

Child Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychopathology, Early School Adjustment, Treatment Outcome Research


PhD, University of California, Los Angeles

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information


Our research team shares interests in the early school experiences, family factors, and relationships of children with developmental disabilities, disruptive behavior problems, and other developmental or behavioral risk factors.

Smooth Sailing
The Smooth Sailing Study, funded by a 3-year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, is aimed at understanding the transition to school for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This study is a two-site effort with Dr. Jan Blacher’s research team at the University of California Riverside. The transition to formal schooling is a crucial milestone for all children, and children with ASD face particular socio-emotional and academic challenges. Our goal is to identify factors that promote a successful socio-emotional adaptation to school for young children with ASD. In particular, we examine relationships with teachers and, in turn, children’s development of language and literacy skills over time. We are actively assessing participating families during 2013, following families over a two-year period. Ultimately, this study will lead to the development of an intervention to facilitate these children’s social and academic success during the transition to school.

School Transitions Study
Our team is currently completing our third and final wave of data collection for the School Transitions Study. Working with local Women Infants & Children (WIC) clinics, we are assessing 78 families of children ages 3-5 years experiencing poverty, including 68% recent immigrant families, as children proceed through preschool and kindergarten. We are examining school, child, and family characteristics that promote positive socio-emotional adaptation to school and academic development for economically-disadvantaged children. Recent findings focus on parents’ and children’s exposure to potentially traumatic events, parent-child relationship quality, and parents’ reading strategies in relation to children’s academic development.

Family and Child Development Project
In collaboration with Dr. Alice Carter’s research team, we have surveyed over 500 low-income families of young children ages 0-5 years to assess parents’ perceptions of their children’s emotional and behavioral development and perceived need for intervention services. Through this project, we examine risk and protective factors facing young children living in poverty.


Dr. Eisenhower teaches the following courses:

Psych 141G First-Year Seminar: Children's Social Worlds (undergraduate)

Psych 341: Infancy and Childhood (undergraduate)

Psych 479: Field Placement in Child Development (undergraduate)

Psych 611: Developmental Psychopathology I: Childhood and Adolescence (graduate)

Psych 721: Child Therapy (graduate)