Faculty & Staff

Joan Liem, PhD

Special Assistant to the Provost Professor of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts


Areas of Expertise

Adolescent to young adult transition among at risk youth


PhD, Boston University

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Joan Liem’s research focuses on the adolescent to young adult transition among high risk adolescents. One line of research focuses on the long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse. Employing a developmental psychopathology perspective, Professor Liem has examined the effects of childhood sexual abuse on young adult self-esteem, depression, and self-destructive behavior, on increased vulnerability to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in adult relationships, and on the need for power in adulthood. A second line of research focuses on the adolescent to young adult transition among adolescents who have dropped out of high school, examining both precursors and consequences of early school leaving. Employing an ecological-developmental perspective, this research examines the consequences for mental health and social functioning of early school leaving and the family and community supports young people need to get back on track and move successfully into adulthood. This work has been funded by a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation. Professor Liem also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on principles of psychotherapy, supervises graduate students’ clinical work in the University Counseling Center Practicum, and publishes on psychotherapy processes.