Lance Swenson, PhD

Assistant Professor
Director of Clinical Training
Department of Psychology

Phone: 617-994-6874
Fax: 617-367-2924
Office: Donahue Building, Rm. 636D


  • PhD, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • MA, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • BS, University of Georgia, Athens

Internship: Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium; Postdoctoral Fellowship: Brown University School of Medicine, Center for Alcohol & Addiction Studies.

Specialty Areas

Friendships and peer relationships, parenting, socioemotional development, suicidality and self-harming behaviors, developmental psychopathology

My research interests involve understanding processes and risk/protective factors related to self-harm, including suicidal and non-suicidal thoughts and behaviors, across the lifespan. For example, recent and ongoing studies that my students and I are engaged in involve understanding linkages between sexual orientation and self-harm, relations between risk- (e.g., alcohol use) and health-related behaviors (e.g., physical activity, dietary habits) with non-suicidal self-injury, and a mixed-method approach to investigating early childhood self-harming behaviors. A second component of my research involves understanding children and adolescents’ socioemotional development and the mechanisms through with peer and other social relationships affect functioning. For example, my prior research has examined close friends’ knowledge of youth symptomatology, understanding agreement and discrepancy between parent- and child-perceptions of functioning, and the effects of being in a dyadic friendship with a distressed partner. In addition to these primary areas of inquiry, some of recent research collaborations have involved clinically-oriented research with more severely impaired populations of children and adolescents (e.g., psychiatric inpatients). These collaborations encompass a wide range of topics, including engagement with inpatient treatment, childhood-onset bipolar disorder, and problematic video game use.

Selected Publications

Topor, D. R., Swenson, L., Hunt, J., Birmaher, B., Strober, M., Yen, S., Hoeppner, B., Case, B., Hower, H., Weinstock, L. M., Ryan, N., Goldstein, B., Goldstein, T., Gill, M. K., Axelson, D., & Keller, M. (in press). Manic symptoms in youth with bipolar disorder: Factor analysis by age of symptom onset and current age. Journal of Affective Disorders.

Reidler, E., & Swenson, L. P. (in press). Discrepancies between youth and mothers’ perceptions of their mother-child relationship quality and self-disclosure: Implications for youth- and mother-reported youth adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Topor, D. R., Swenson, L. P., Liguori, G. M., Spirito, A., Lowenhaupt, E. A., & Hunt, J. I. (2011). Problematic video game use scale: Initial psychometric properties with psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 12, 1611-1615. doi: 10.4088/JCP.11m07040

Swenson, L. P., & Rose, A. J. (2009). Friend’s knowledge of youth internalizing and externalizing adjustment: Accuracy, bias, and the influence of gender, grade, positive friendship quality, and self-disclosure. Journal for Abnormal Child Psychology.

Swenson, L. P., Spirito, A., Dyl, J., Kittler, J., & Hunt, J. I. (2008). Psychiatric correlates of nonsuicidal cutting behaviors in an adolescent inpatient sample. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 39, 427-438

Courses Taught

PSYCH 233 - Child Development
PSYCH 336 - Developmental Psychopathology
PSYCH 711 - Scientific Writing for the Psychological Sciences
PSYCH 741 - Clinical Supervision and Consultation IIB
PSYCH 748 - Developmental Psychopathology