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Sunny Bai

Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Clinical, Developmental, stress and coping, emotion regulation, family relationships, peer relationships, depression, suicide prevention, intensive longitudinal methods


Dr. Bai’s research broadly focuses on child and adolescent development in the context of daily family and school life. A critical component of childhood is the successful navigation of the ups and downs of daily life. Children and adolescents must overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities for growth every day. In her research, she looks to the everyday lives of youth to identify daily risk and resilience processes that can be targeted to prevent internalizing disorders and suicide risk and examine novel strategies for addressing these targets.  

At the intersection of psychological science and prevention, her research examines three questions. First, how is risk for internalizing disorders shaped by the ways that youth respond to daily stress? Second, what are the daily mechanisms by which families help to build resilience against internalizing disorders in adolescence? Third, how can we improve existing interventions for the prevention of adolescent suicide? Her translational research program relies on longitudinal observational designs and intensive repeated measurements, to capture risk and resilience processes in diverse communities and inform prevention programs. Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Foundation and the Society for Research on Child Development.

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

Dr. Bai is a member of Ballmer Institute faculty.

Selected Publications (*student/post-doc at the time of publication):

Bai, S., Rolon‐Arroyo, B., Walkup, J. T., Kendall, P. C., Ginsburg, G. S., Keeton, C. P., ... & Peris, T. S. (2023). Anxiety symptom trajectories from treatment to 5‐to 12‐year follow‐up across childhood and adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

*Chiang, S. C., & Bai, S. (2022). Reciprocal influences among marital relationship, parent–adolescent relationship, and youth depressive symptoms. Journal of marriage and family84(4), 962-981.

Bai, S., Buxton, O. M., Master, L., & Hale, L. (2022). Daily associations between family interaction quality, stress, and objective sleep in adolescents. Sleep health8(1), 69-72.

Bai, S., Babeva, K. N., Kim, M. I., & Asarnow, J. R. (2021). Future directions for optimizing clinical science & safety: Ecological momentary assessments in suicide/self-harm research. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology50(1), 141-153.

Bai, S., & Repetti, R. L. (2018). Negative and positive emotion responses to daily school problems: Links to internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Journal of abnormal child psychology46(3), 423-435.

Bai, S., Reynolds, B. M., Robles, T. F., & Repetti, R. L. (2017). Daily links between school problems and youth perceptions of interactions with parents: A diary study of school‐to‐home spillover. Social Development26(4), 813-830.

Bai, S., Repetti, R. L., & Sperling, J. B. (2016). Children’s expressions of positive emotion are sustained by smiling, touching, and playing with parents and siblings: A naturalistic observational study of family life. Developmental psychology52(1), 88-101.