Profile picture of Sheila Crowell

Sheila Crowell

Phone: 541-346-0396
Office: 427 LISB
Research Interests: Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychopathology, Emotion Dysregulation, Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors, Dynamic Relationship Patterns, and Psychophysiology.


Research Interests

I direct the Oregon Research for Clinical Health Innovations in Developmental Science (ORCHIDS) lab at the University of Oregon. Our team is conducting innovative research at the intersection between clinical and developmental psychology to discover how psychological struggles emerge and change across the lifespan. Much of our work focuses on researching and preventing extreme psychological suffering. In particular, we seek to understand some of the most vulnerable and misunderstood populations, including those who engage in self-inflicted injury, and those who struggle with personality disorders, substance use, stress or trauma, abuse and maltreatment histories, chronic depression, or who have died by suicide. A major theme of our work is understanding ways in which these diverse psychological outcomes are related in terms of biological vulnerabilities, contextual risks, acquired coping strategies, developmental trajectories, and dynamic relationship patterns. The research in my lab and of my colleagues has begun to elucidate unifying patterns that have improved our understanding of those who are suffering—with implications for intervention and prevention of chronic distress.

Opportunities for Students

Students in the ORCHIDS lab will enjoy a wide range of opportunities and will be well prepared as both scientific researchers and clinicians. Our work is conducted with highly complicated individuals, many of whom are facing their most difficult life challenges. Thus, clinical skills are developed in every interaction and scientific endeavors have meaningful implications for prevention and treatment. Currently, I am conducting a series of funded research projects focused on (1) emotion dysregulation in pregnancy and infant development across the first 18 months of life, (2) self-injurious thoughts and behaviors that occur during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth, (3) experiences of racism and discrimination among Black and Latina pregnant women and effects on their infants, (4) parent and infant sleep during the first year of life and early signs of risk for child ADHD. Almost all my work involves rich biological and contextual measures (e.g., psychophysiological methods, interpersonal dynamics), with the goal of promoting a nuanced understanding of factors that contribute to risk and thriving across development. The psychological conditions I study affect individuals from all backgrounds, although the burden is most often borne by those with few available resources for treatment. Students who are interested in examining issues of diversity, disempowerment, and oppression will find the Department of Psychology to be an engaging environment for this line of research.

Those students who are eager to pursue research-oriented academic careers will fit particularly well in the Department of Psychology and the University of Oregon. The department houses state-of-the-art fMRI and psychophysiological laboratories and offers excellent statistical and methodological training. I personally provide didactic training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a highly effective intervention for reducing emotion dysregulation, substance use, personality disorder traits, self-injury, and risk for suicide. I received my DBT training directly from Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., the treatment developer. Eugene is a beautiful Pacific Northwest University town with excellent coffee shops and nearby wine tasting, an ideal setting to balance intellectual and personal development.

Dr. Crowell is interested in accepting new doctoral students for Fall 2024.

Selected Publications

Crowell, S. E., Butner, J., Wiltshire, T., Munion, A. K., Yaptangco, M. & Beauchaine, T. P. (2017). Evaluating emotional and biological sensitivity to maternal behavior among depressed and self-injuring adolescent girls using nonlinear dynamics. Clinical Psychological Science, 5, 272-285. Download

Ostlund, B. D., Conradt, E., Crowell, S. E., Tyrka, A. R., Marsit, C. J., & Lester, B. M. (2016). Prenatal stress, fearfulness, and the epigenome: Exploratory analysis of sex differences in DNA methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10, 147-155. Download

Crowell, S. E. & Kaufman, E. A. (2016). Borderline personality disorder and the emerging field of developmental neuroscience. Personality Disorders: Theory Research and Treatment, 7, 324-333. Download

Crowell, S. E., Puzia, M. E.,  & Yaptangco, M. (2015). The ontogeny of chronic distress: Emotion dysregulation across the life span and its implications for psychological and physical health. Current Opinion in Psychology, 3, 91-99. Download

Hughes, A. E., Crowell, S. E., Uyeji, L., & Coan, J. A. (2012). A developmental neuroscience of borderline personality: Emotion dysregulation and social baseline theory. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 21-33. Download

Kaufman, E. A., Xia, M., Fosco, G., Yaptangco, M., *Skidmore, C. R., & Crowell, S. E. (2016). The Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale Short Form (DERS-SF): Validation and replication in adolescent and adult samples. Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 38, 443-455. Download

Crowell, S. E., Baucom, B. R., McCauley, E., Potapova, N. V., Fitelson, M., Barth, H., Smith, C. J., & Beauchaine, T. P. (2013). Mechanisms of contextual risk for adolescent self-injury: Invalidation and conflict escalation in mother-child interactions. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., Hsiao, R. C., *Vasilev, C. A., *Yaptangco, M., Linehan, M. M. & McCauley, E. (2012). Differentiating adolescent self-injury from depression: Implications for borderline personality development. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 45-57. Download

Hughes, A. E., Crowell, S. E., *Uyeji, L., & Coan, J. A. (2012). A developmental neuroscience of borderline pathology: Emotion dysregulation and social baseline theory. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 21-33. Download

Beauchaine, T. P., Klein, D. N., Crowell, S. E., Derbidge, C., & Gatzke-Kopp, L. M. (2009). Multifinality in the development of personality disorders: A Biology * Sex * Environment interaction model of antisocial and borderline traits. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 735-770. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., & Linehan, M. (2009). A biosocial developmental model of borderline personality: Elaborating and extending Linehan's theory. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 495-510. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., McCauley, E., Smith, C. J., Vasilev, C. A., & Stevens, A. L. (2008). Parent-child interactions, peripheral serotonin, and self-inflicted injury in adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 15-21. Download

Crowell, S. E., Beauchaine, T. P., McCauley, E., Smith, C., Stevens, A. L., & Sylvers, P. D. (2005). Psychological, physiological, and serotonergic correlates of parasuicidal behavior among adolescent girls. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 1105-1127. Download