Krisanne Bursik, PhD

Senior Associate Dean, College of Arts & Science; Professor, Psychology

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  • PhD, Boston University
  • MA, Boston University
  • BA, Villanova University

Specialty Areas

Personality and individual differences; adolescent and adult development; gender and women's studies.

My research integrates several theoretical models and empirical domains from personality psychology, developmental psychology, and the field of gender studies. More specifically, I have been examining the relations among several developmental pathways including character development, moral development, identity development, and gender role development – all integral components of adult personality. Several recent studies have explored how individual differences in adolescent gender role development and ego development predict differences in the behavior, conscious attitudes, and unconscious processes of adolescents and emerging adults. My work is guided by neo-analytic/ego psychological models of coping and adaptation (e.g., Loevinger; Block), as well as contemporary positive psychology frameworks emphasizing constructs such as moral identity, spirituality, and holistic well-being. My empirical research has examined gender, gender role, and ego developmental differences in relationship satisfaction, divorce adjustment, perceptions of sexual harassment, and dream content.

Ongoing research explores additional behavioral, emotional, and cognitive correlates of these developmental lines. Recent co-authored presentations and publications with doctoral students address phenomena including: the prediction of adolescent academic achievement; the experience of guilt and shame; the capacity to envision therapeutic goals; the valuing of monogamy; and the development of political ideologies. Newer empirical projects examine individual differences in risky sexual behavior, moral disengagement, and substance abuse.


  • Yeterian, J., Bursik, K., & Kelly, J. F. (2018). "God put weed here for us to smoke": A mixed methods study of religion and spirituality among adolescents with cannabis use disorders. Substance Abuse, 39 (4), 484-492.
  • Yeterian, J., Bursik, K., & Kelly, J. F. (2015). Religiosity as a predictor of adolescents’ substance use disorder treatment outcomes. Substance Abuse, 36 (4), 453-461.
  • White-Ajmani, M. L., & Bursik, K. (2014). Situational context moderates the relationship between moral disengagement and aggression. Psychology of Violence, 4, 90-100.
  • Bursik, K., & Gefter, J. (2011). Still stable after all these years: Perceptions of sexual harassment in academic contexts. The Journal of Social Psychology, 151, 331-349.
  • White-Ajmani, M., & Bursik, K. (2011). What lies beneath: Dogmatism, intolerance, and political self-identification. Individual Differences Research, 9, 153-164.
  • Schmookler, T., & Bursik, K. (2007). The value of monogamy in emerging adulthood: A gendered perspective. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 819-835.
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Courses Taught

  • PSYCH 226 - Theories of Personality
  • PSYCH 772 - The Teaching of Psychology