human development and family studies

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

401.874.2150 (ph); 401.874.4020 (f)

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Sue K. Adams

  • Associate Professor - Program Director
  • Transition Center, Rm 208
  • Phone: 401.874.5958
  • Email:


Sue K. Adams, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor who joined the department of Human Development & Family Studies in 2007. Dr. Adams is also the director of the graduate program in Developmental Science. After earning her B.A. in Psychobiology from Wheaton College (MA), Dr. Adams pursued her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. During that time, Dr. Adams was the recipient of a T32 training fellowship through the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium, where she worked with the Childhood Asthma Research Team to to study health disparities in childhood asthma. Dr. Adams also went on to complete her clinical internship in Pediatric Psychology at the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium.


Since joining the department of Human Development & Family Studies, Dr. Adams’s research has focused on the impact of technology and sleep deprivation on the mental and physical health of college students. Dr. Adams is also the author of the book, Family and Community Health: A Developmental Approach and is an active member of the New England Psychological Association’s steering committee.



With a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, Dr. Adams’s teaching, research and clinical interests are focused in the area of physical and mental health promotion. Dr. Adams has received extensive research training in the area of childhood asthma, exploring cultural factors that influence children’s asthma management. Her research interests also include examining the impact of sleep on college students’ academic, psychological, and social functioning.

At URI, Dr. Adams founded the Sleep Research Lab. With the help of 2-4 undergraduate and graduate students per year and Co-Investigator, Dr. Tiffani Kisler, the Sleep Lab is currently examining the impact of technology (e.g., text messaging, sexting, cell phone use, social networking, etc.) on students’ sleep quality, physical health, and psychological health (i.e., anxiety and depression). Given the importance of sleep in helping individuals to achieve their fullest potential, Dr. Adams hopes to apply the results of this research to improve the sleep quality of college students at URI.

Dr. Adams also provides clinical services to children and families experiencing an array of physical and mental health concerns. She utilizes a cognitive behavioral approach to treat children with anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and other medical issues such as asthma. Dr. Adams is also active in community outreach and regularly conducts workshops on the topic of childhood sleep and anxiety.


  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston, 2007
  • Predoctoral Clinical Internship, Brown University Clinical Psychology Consortium, 2006-2007
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston, 2004
  • B.A., Psychobiology, Wheaton College (MA), 2001


Barreto, S. Adams, S.K., & Daly, J.F. (2014). Windows of opportunity: Family systems theory and developmental considerations for supporting youth, parents and clinicians in the digital age.  Journal of Youth Development, 9 (1), 14-28.

Conti, J., Adams, S.K. & Kisler, T. (2014). An examination of self-esteem, depression and sleep in college students. To appear in the Journal of Women in Higher Education, 7(1), 47-72.

Adams, S.K., Daly, J.F., & Williford, D.N. (2013). Adolescent sleep and cellular phone use: Recent trends and implications for research. Health Services Insights, 6, 99-103.

Adams, S.K. & Kisler, T. (2013). Sleep quality as a mediator between technology-related sleep quality, depression, and anxiety Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(1), 25-30.

Adams, S.K., Murdock, K.K., Lima, L.A., & McQuaid, E.L. (2011).  The role of parents’ medication beliefs, religious problem-solving, and risks for treatment nonadherence in urban families with asthma. Health Services Insights, 4, 11-21. 

Adams, S.K. & Koinis Mitchell D. (2008). Perspective on alternative and complementary therapies in asthma. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, 4(6), 703-711.

Adams, S.K., Murdock, K.K., & McQuaid, E.L. (2007). Parental beliefs about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and asthma-related outcomes: An urban perspective.  Journal of Asthma, 44, 775-782.


Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

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