Sara Jaffee

BA, Psychology, Oberlin College
Ph.D., Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Office Location: 
Room 464, Levin Building, 425 S. University Ave.
Research Interests: 
Developmental Psychology
Specific Research Areas: 

Development of antisocial behavior; gene-environment interplay

Research Synopsis: 

I am a developmental psychopathologist who conducts research on at-risk families and children. I am interested in how stressful environments exacerbate underlying genetic vulnerabilities to affect children’s development, with a special interest in children’s antisocial behavior. My work combines longitudinal, epidemiological methods with genetically-informative research designs to better understand how risk and protective factors operate in children’s development.


I am accepting graduate students for fall 2023. Success in the application process is about finding a lab that is a good fit with your interests. You will find a lot of information on my lab website about active projects in the lab and the qualities I am looking for in graduate students. Because of a family emergency that is placing significant demands on my time, I am not replying to individual emails from prospective applicants about my research group, nor am I arranging phone calls to discuss on-going research in my lab. If you have a question about the lab’s research that isn’t answered by the information on our lab webpage or the department webpage, please do reach out and I will get back to you. Relevant links are here:


Selected Publications: 
Brumley, L. D., Russell, M. A., & Jaffee, S. R. (2019). Optimistic college expectations promote educational attainment: Evidence from a quasi-experimental sibling study. Psychological Science, 30, 1186-1194. 
Chen, R., Rothman, E., & Jaffee, S. R. (2017). Early puberty, friendship group characteristics, and dating abuse in US girls. Pediatrics, 139, e20162847.
Cline, J., Belsky, J., Melhuish, E., Lysenko, L., McFarquhar, T., Stevens, S., & Jaffee, S. R. (2015). Take your mind off it: Coping style, 5HTTLPR genotype, and children’s internalizing and externalizing problems. Development and Psychopathology, 27, 1129-1143.   
Jaffee, S. R., McFarquhar, T., Stevens, S., Ouellet-Morin, I., Melhuish, E., & Belsky, J. (2015). Interactive effects of early and recent exposure to stressful contexts on cortisol reactivity in middle childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56, 138-146.
Jaffee, S. R. , Lombardi, C. M., & Coley, R. L. (2013). Using complementary methods to test whether marriage limits men’s antisocial behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 65-77.
Jaffee, S. R., Strait, L. B., & Odgers, C. L. (2012). From correlates to causes: Can quasi-experimental studies and statistical innovations bring us closer to identifying the causes of antisocial behavior? Psychological Bulletin, 138, 272-295.

Price, T. S., Grosser, T., Plomin, R., & Jaffee, S. R. (2010). Fetal genotype for the xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme NQO1 influences intrauterine growth among infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. Child Development, 81, 101-114.

Jaffee, S. R., & Price, T. S. (2007). Gene-environment correlations: A review of the evidence and implications for prevention of mental illness. Molecular Psychiatry, 12, 432-442.

Jaffee, S. R., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., & Taylor, A. (2003). Life with (or without) father: The benefits of living with two biological parents depend on the father’s antisocial behavior. Child Development, 74, 109-126.


Courses Taught: 
PSYC 280 Social & Emotional Development
PSYC 400 Senior Honors Seminar
PSYC 600 (proseminar) Social & Emotional Development 
PSYC 709 Graduate Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology 


Izabela Milaniak [Psychology Graduate Student]

Bethany Watson [Psychology Graduate Student]

Anika Khan [Psychology Graduate Student]

Samiha Islam [Psychology Graduate Student]