Dr. Paula J. Fite

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Applied Behavioral Science, Psychology
Associate Professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science
Primary office:
Dole Human Development Center
Room 2012
University of Kansas
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045-7555

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 an Associate Professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science. Dr. Fite is the author or co-author of more than 100 empirical papers and chapters in her area of study. She is on the editorial board of Child Psychiatry and Human Development, the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, and Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment. Fite served as a Member-at-Large for Early Career Psychologists for the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37 of APA) from 2014 through 2016. 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.

Teaching Interests

  • Antisocial youth
  • Developmental psychology
  • Intellectual assessment and academic achievement


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

Selected Publications

Cooley, J. & Fite, P. (2016). Peer victimization and forms of aggression during middle childhood: The role of emotion regulation. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 535-546.

Lochman, J. Evans, S. Burke, J. Roberts, M. & Fite, P. (2015). An Empirically Based Alternative to DSM-5’s Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder for ICD-11. World Psychiatry, 14, 30-33.

Fite, P. Brown, S. Gabrielli, J. DiPierro, M. Blossom, J. Cooley, J. & Bortolato, M. (2015). The role of negative life events in comorbid reactive aggression and marijuana use among Latino Adolescents. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 24, 552-568.

Fite, P. J., Hendrickson, M. Evans, S. Rubens, S. L., Johnson-Motoyama, M. & Savage, J. (2014). Associations between Proactive and Reactive Subtypes of Aggression and Lifetime Substance Use in a Sample of Predominantly Hispanic Adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 23, 398-406.

Fite, P. J., Evans, S. Cooley, J. & Rubens, S. (2014). Further Evaluation of Associations between Inattention-Hyperactivity and Oppositional Defiance Symptoms and Bullying-Victimization in Adolescence. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 45, 32-41.

Fite, P. Gabrielli, J. Cooley, J. Haas, S. Frazer, A. Rubens, S. & Johnson-Motoyama, M. (2014). Hope as a Moderator of the Associations between Common Risk Factors and Frequency of Substance Use. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 36, 653-662.

Fite, P. Cooley, J. Williford, A. Frazer, A. & Dipierro, M. (2014). Parental School Involvement as a Moderator of the Association between Peer Victimization and Academic Performance. Children and Youth Services Review, 44, 25-32.

Fite, P. Johnson-Motoyama, M. Rubens, S. & Peaches, A. (2014). Risk for Being a Teen Parent: The influence of Proactive and Reactive Aggression in a sample of Latino Adolescents. Child Indicators Research, 7, 437-450.

Fite, P. Williford, A. Cooley, J. Kathy, D. Rubens, S. & Vernberg, E. (2013). Patterns of victimization locations in elementary school children: Effects of grade level and gender. Child and Youth Care Forum, 42, 585-597.

Fite, P. J., Rubens, S. Preddy, T. M., Raine, A. & Pardini, D. A. (2013). Reactive/proactive aggression and the development of internalizing problems in males: The moderating effect of parent and peer relationships: Reactive Aggression and Internalizing Symptoms. Aggressive Behavior, 40(1), 69-78. DOI:10.1002/AB.21498

Fite, P. J., Rubens, S. L., Hendrickson, M. Gabrielli, J. & Evans, S. (2013). The Role of Peer Rejection in the Link between Reactive Aggression and Academic Performance. Child and Youth Care Forum, 42, 193-205.

Fite, P. J., Rathert, J. L., Stoppelbein, L. & Greening, L. (2012). Social Problems as a Mediator of the Link between Reactive Aggression and Withdrawn/Depressed Symptoms. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 184-189.

Fite, P. J., Raine, A. Loeber, R. Stouthamer-Loeber, M. & Pardini, D. A. (2010). Reactive and Proactive Aggression in Adolescent Males: Examining Differential Outcomes 10 Years Later in Early Adulthood. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 37(2), 141-157.

Fite, P. J., Colder, C. R., Lochman, J. E., & Wells, K. C. (2007). Pathways from Proactive and Reactive Aggression to Substance Use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 355-364.

Fite, P. J., Colder, C. R., Lochman, J. E., & Wells, K. C. (2006). The Mutual Influence of Parenting and Boys’ Externalizing Behavior Problems. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 151-164.

Subscribe to Department News

In the News

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today