Jennifer Silk, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Psychology

*Dr. Silk is not accepting graduate students for the 2023-24 admissions year*

Graduate Student Advisees:

  • Quyen Do
  • Emily Hutchinson
  • Kirsten McKone
  • Stefanie Sequiera

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Temple University

Research Interest Summary

Anxiety; Depression; Childhood; Adolescence; Neurobiological & Social Influences

Research Interests

My research focuses on social-contextual and neurobiological factors involved in the development and treatment of anxiety and depression from middle childhood through adolescence. This includes both neurobiological and social influences on emotional reactivity and regulation during this window of development. I use a variety of methods at different levels of analysis, including Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), behavioral observation, pupillometry, and neuroimaging. My research is framed around 3 inter-related questions: (1) What are the normative developmental changes in emotional reactivity and regulation that occur from middle childhood through adolescence? (2) How do these normative developmental processes go awry in youth who develop anxiety and/or depressive disorders?; and (3) How can this research be leveraged to improve prevention and intervention approaches for these disorders?

Representative Publications

Silk JS, Lee KH, Elliot RD, Hooley JM, Dahl RE, Barber, & Siegle GJ. “Mom--I don’t want to hear it”: Brain response to maternal praise and criticism in adolescents with major depressive disorder. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2017; 12(5): 729-738. PMCID: PMC5460041.

Silk JS, Tan PZ, Ladouceur CD, Meller SM, Siegle GJ, McMakin DL, Forbes EE, Dahl EE, Kendall PC, Mannarino A, & Ryan ND. A randomized clinical trial comparing individual cognitive behavioral therapy and child-centered therapy for child anxiety disorders. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. 2016 Mar 16; 12:1-3. PMID: 26983904. 

Silk JS, Nelson E, Dahl RE, Stroud L, Lee KH, Siegle GJ. Increased neural response to peer rejection associated with adolescent depression and pubertal development. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2014 Dec: 9(11): 1798-1807.  doi: 10.1093/scan/nst175. PMCID: PMC4221220. 

Silk JS, Sheeber L, Tan PZ, Ladouceur CD, Forbes EE, McMakin DL±, Dahl RE, Siegle GJ, Kendall PC, Mannarino A, Ryan ND. “You can do it!”: The role of parental encouragement to approach fears in child anxiety treatment. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2013 June; 27(5):439-446. PMCID: PMC3766422

Silk JS, Stroud LR, Siegle, GJ, Dahl, RE, Lee, KH, & Nelson, EE. Peer acceptance and rejection through the eyes of youth: Pupillary, eyetracking, and ecological data from the Chatroom Interact Task. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2012 January; 7(1): 93-105.  PMCID: PMC3252631.

Silk JS, Davis S, McMakin DL, Dahl RE, Forbes EE.  Why do anxious children become depressed teenagers?:  The role of social evaluative threat and reward processing.  Psychological Medicine. 2012 October; 42(10): 2095-2107.

Silk JS, Forbes EE, Whalen DJ, Jakubcak JL, Thompson WK, Ryan ND, Axelson DA, Birmaher B, Dahl RE.  Daily emotional dynamics in depressed youth: A Cell-phone ecological momentary assessment study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 2011 Oct;110(2):241–257. PMCID: PMC3061240

Accepting Graduate Students