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Ric G. Steele

Director, Clinical Child Psychology Program

Ph.D., 1998, University of Georgia
Research Areas: Clinical Child Psychology

Related Links
Clinical Child Psychology Program

Research Interests

Dr. Steele’s program of research is broadly concerned with the promotion of physical and mental health in children, adolescents, and families across a continuum of health risk categories (i.e., healthy children, children at risk for disease, and children with diagnosed medical conditions). This research has focused on children's responses to the illness of a parent, the assessment of distress among parents of children diagnosed with cancer, and the predictors and correlates of children's psychosocial and physical functioning in various illness populations. As part of this mission, Dr. Steele’s team has also conducted research on the cross-cultural validity of measures of personality and behavioral constructs, and has been interested in the development and dissemination of evidence based therapies in pediatric and clinical child psychology.

Consistent with these overarching areas of interest, Dr. Steele’s current research is focused on the correlates and treatment of pediatric obesity and the promotion of weight-related health and quality of life. Supported by both state and federal grants, his research team has been developing and examining the efficacy and effectiveness of a behaviorally based group treatment for pediatric obesity (Positively Fit). Results from the RCT indicate that Positively Fit is a promising intervention, with positive changes in children’s BMI at one year post-treatment. Dr. Steele and his team are also interested in more systemic interventions for obesity.  Specifically, with state and private grants, they have developed and evaluated Child Health Matters, an online tutorial to enhance school nurses’ communications with families about weight-related health, nutrition, and physical activity. Beyond these grant-funded projects, Steele’s team has various ongoing projects exploring the associations among health-related quality of life, physical activity, and  psychosocial variables such as perceived competence, peer victimization, and body dissatisfaction.  For more information about Dr. Steele’s research lab, please visit the Pediatric Health Promotion and Maintenance website. 

Dr. Steele is interested in accepting applications for graduate students for the Fall 2012 semester.  Please note that Dr. Steele provides graduate advising for students in the Clinical Child Psychology Doctoral Program only.  Please visit the Clinical Child Psychology Program website for information regarding admission.   


Book Titles

Roberts, M. C., & Steele, R. G. (Eds.). (2009). Handbook of pediatric psychology (4th ed.). New York: Guilford. ISBN:  978-1-60623-328-3

Jelalian, E., & Steele, R. G. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of childhood and adolescent obesity.  New York: Springer.  ISBN: 978-0-387-76922-6

Steele, R. G., Elkin, T. D., & Roberts, M. C. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of evidence-based therapies for children and adolescents.  New York: Springer. ISBN: 978-0-387-73690-7

Steele, R. G., & Roberts, M. C. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of mental health services for children, adolescents, and families. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.  ISBN: 978-0-306-48560-2

Selected Empirical Articles

Steele, R. G., *Aylward, B. S., *Jensen, C. D., *Cushing, C. C., Davis, A. M., & Bovaird, J. A. (in press).  Comparison of a family-based group intervention for youths with obesity to a brief family intervention: A practical clinical trial of Positively Fit. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.  doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/JSR057

Steele, R. G., & *Van Allen, J. M. (in press).  Introduction to the special issue on the treatment of pediatric obesity: Bringing contexts and systems into focus.  Children’s Health Care, 40

*Cushing, C. C., *Jensen, C. D., & Steele, R. G. (2011).  An evaluation of a personal electronic device to enhance self-monitoring adherence in a pediatric weight-management program using a multiple baseline design. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36, 301-307. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsq074

Steele, R. G., *Wu, Y. P., & **Pankey, S., Davis, A. M., *Aylward, B. S., & *Jensen, C. D. (2011).  School nurses’ perceived barriers to discussing weight with children and their families: A qualitative approach. Journal of School Health, 81, 128-137.  doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00571.x

*Jensen, C. D., *Cushing, C. C., *Aylward, B. A., **Craig, J. T., **Sorell, D. M., & Steele, R. G. (2011). Effectiveness of motivational interviewing interventions for adolescent substance use change: A meta-analytic review.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 433-440doi: 10.1037/a0023992

*Nelson, T. D., *Jensen, C. D., & Steele, R. G. (2011). Weight-related criticism and self-perceptions among preadolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36(1), 106–115.  doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsq047

*Cushing, C. C., & Steele, R. G. (2010).  A meta-analytic review of eHealth interventions for pediatric health promoting and maintaining behaviors.  Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(9), 937-949. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsq023

*Steele, M. M., Steele, R. G., & *Hunter, H. H. (2009).  Family adherence as a predictor of child outcome in pediatric obesity intervention: Different outcomes for self-report and objective measures. Children’s Health Care, 38, 64-75. doi:10.1080/02739610802615898

Steele, R. G., *Aylward, B. S., *Jensen, C. D., & *Wu, Y. P. (2009).  Parent- and youth-reported illness uncertainty: Associations with distress and psychosocial functioning among recipients of liver and kidney transplantations.  Children’s Health Care, 38, 185-199. doi: 10.1080/02739610903038768

*Rosno, E. A., Steele, R. G., *Johnston, C. A., & *Aylward, B. S. (2008). Parental locus of control: Associations to adherence and outcomes in the treatment of pediatric obesity.  Children’s Health Care, 37, 126-144. doi: 10.1080/02739610802006544

Steele, R. G., & *Aylward, B. S. (2007). The use of cluster analyses in developmental and behavioral pediatric research.  Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 28, 327-239.

*denotes student co-author


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