Karen McCurdy

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Human Development and Family Science
  • Phone: 401.874.5960
  • Email: kmccurdy@uri.edu
  • Office Location: Transition Center, Rm 208



Karen McCurdy, Ph.D., is Professor of  Human Development & Family Science  at the University of Rhode Island.  She served as Chair of the HDF department from 2012-2018. Before joining the University of Rhode Island, Dr. McCurdy was Deputy Director of Research at Prevent Child Abuse America, amassing over 20 years of experience in  child abuse prevention researchDr. McCurdy currently teaches HDF 533, Family Policy and Program Evaluation, and HDF 434, Children and Families in Poverty.


Dr. McCurdy’s research focuses on promoting optimal child and family development among vulnerable families.  She has investigated the effectiveness of child abuse prevention programs, parental decisions to engage in home visiting programs, and, more recently, maternal depression, family food behaviors and their association with child obesity among low-income families.  Dr. McCurdy also is lead PI for an on-going outreach grant to recruit qualified professionals to early intervention programs in Rhode Island, and a new grant-funded project to assess the impact of Early Intervention on family outcomes.  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.


  • 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

Selected Publications


Gorman, K., McCurdy, K., Kisler, T., and Metallinos-Katsaras, E. (2017).  Maternal strategies to access food differ by food security status.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117 (1), 48-57.

McCurdy, K., Kisler, T., Gorman, K., and Metallinos-Katsaras, E. (2015).  Food- and health-related correlates of self-reported body mass index among low-income mothers of young children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47 (3), 225-233.e1.

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.


Download to Curriculum Vitae(PDF)