human development and family studies

Transition Center, 2 Lower College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

401.874.2150 (ph); 401.874.4020 (f)

Think Big, We Do.
Rhode Island Seal

Karen McCurdy

  • Professor, Department Chair
  • Transition Center, Rm 112
  • Phone: 401.874.5960
  • Email:


Karen McCurdy, Ph.D., is currently Professor and Chair of the Human Development & Family Studies department at the University of Rhode Island.  Dr. McCurdy received a B.A in Political Science from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.  Dr. McCurdy has over 20 years of experience conducting research in child abuse prevention and serves on the Editorial Board of Child Abuse & Neglect:  An International Journal.

Dr. McCurdy recently led an NIH-funded study assessing factors that may contribute to child overweight and food security among low-income families, and is lead PI for an on-going project to recruit qualified professionals to early intervention programs in Rhode Island.  Dr. McCurdy has received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH, the Annie E.  Casey Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation.


Dr. McCurdy’s research focuses on promoting optimal child and family development among vulnerable families.  Her research has investigated the effectiveness of child abuse prevention programs, parental decisions to engage in home visiting programs, and, more recently, family food behaviors and their association with child obesity among low-income families.


  • Ph. D., Human Development & Social Policy, Northwestern University, 1997
  • M.S., Human Development & Social Policy, Northwestern University, 1989
  • B.A., Political Science, Stanford University, 1982


McCurdy, K., Gorman, K., Kisler, T., & Metallinos-Katsaras, E. (2014).  Associations between family food behaviors, maternal depression, and child weight among low-income children.  Appetite, 79, 97-105.

McCurdy, K., Gorman, K., Kisler, T., and Metallinos-Katsaras, E. (2012).  Maternal mental health and child health and nutrition (pp. 124-144).  In V. Maholmes and R. King (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook on Child Development & Poverty.  Oxford, OH:  Oxford University Press.

McCurdy, K., and Metallinos-Katsaras, E. (2011).  Socio-demographic determinants of food security status among first-time WIC participants.  Topics in Clinical Nutrition, 26 (3), 216-228.

McCurdy, K., Gorman, K., and Metallinos-Katsaras, E. (2010).  From poverty to food insecurity and child overweight:  A family stress approach. Child Development Perspectives, 4 (2), 144-151.

McCurdy, K., and Gorman, K. (2010).  Measuring family food environments in diverse families with young children.  Appetite, 54, 615-618.

Taylor, M. and McCurdy, K. (2010).  The contribution of the helping relationship in promoting retention in a home visiting program to prevent child maltreatment (pp. 63-80).  In E. Douglas (Ed.), Innovations in child and family policy.  Lanham, MD:  Lexington Books.

Download Curriculum Vitae

Copyright © 2017 University of Rhode Island.

The University of Rhode Island
Think Big, We Do.
A-ZDirectoryContact UsJump to top