Ric G. Steele Jr

Research Centers - Applied Behavioral Science, Psychology
Director, Clinical Child Psychology Program
Primary office:
Dole Human Development Center
Room 2010
University of Kansas
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045-7555


Dr. Steele received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia in 1998. Following his APA-approved Clinical Internship at the University of Tennessee Psychology Internship Consortium, he completed a 2-year Post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. Steele is a professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science, and Directs the APA Accredited Clinical Child Psychology Program. Steele has published more than 85 empirical articles, approximately 40 chapters and reviews, and 5 books. Steele's empirical research has been funded by grants from the US DHHS Maternal Child Health Bureau, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and the NIH. He currently serves on the editorial boards for Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and he has served as an Associate Editor for Health Psychology and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Steele is a recipient of the Byron Alexander Graduate Mentor Award (University of Kansas; 2013), the Martin P. Levin Mentorship Award (Society of Pediatric Psychology, 2012), and the W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence (University of Kansas, 2006).


Post-doctoral Fellowship, Pediatric Psychology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Ph.D., Psychology (Clinical) , University of Georgia

M.S., Psychology (Clinical), University of Georgia

B.S., Psychology , Texas A&M University


Dr. Steele teaches classes in the Clinical Child Psychology doctoral program, and upper division courses in the Departments of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science.

Teaching Interests

  • Pediatric Health Promotion
  • Clinical Child Psychology
  • Therapeutic Interventions for Children
  • Child Behavior and Personality Assessment


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). Within this broad area, his current research is focused on the promotion of weight-related health in children and adolescents. His grant-funded projects have included a clinic-based intervention for school-aged children with obesity and their families (Positively Fit), and a web-based intervention to help school nurses deliver weight-related health counseling to school-aged children and their families (Responding to the Crisis). His team also does community-based descriptive research on the correlates and predictors of physical activity in school-aged children. Dr. Steele is currently interested in exploring factors associated with adherence to physician recommendations for pediatric weight loss, and primary care providers' adherence to guidelines and recommendations for assessment and treatment of pediatric obesity. Steele will be accepting applications this fall for a new graduate student for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Research Interests

  • Pediatric Health Promotion
  • Pediatric Weight Management
  • Pediatric Psychology

Selected Publications

Mitchell, T. B., & Steele, R. G. (in press). Latent profiles of physical activity and sedentary behavior in elementary school-age youth: Associations with health related quality of life . Journal of Pediatric Psychology. DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx149

Roberts, M. C., & Steele, R. G. (2017). Handbook of pediatric psychology (5th edition), New York: NY: Guilford Press. 682.

Van Allen, J. M., Steele, R. G., Nelson, M. B., Paugh, J. Egan, A. Clements, M. & Patton, S. (2016). A Longitudinal Examination of Hope and Optimism and Their Role in Type 1 Diabetes in Youths . Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 41(7), 741-749. DOI:10.1093/jpepsy/jsv113

Steele, R. G., Gayes, L. A., Dalton, W. T., Maphis, L. Conway-Williams, E. & Smith, C. (2016). Change in health-related quality of life in the context of pediatric obesity interventions: A meta-analytic review . Health Psychology, 35(10), 1097-1109. DOI:10.1037/hea0000362

Mitchell, T. B., Amaro, C. & Steele, R. G. (2016). Pediatric weight management interventions in primary care settings: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 35(7), 704-713. DOI:10.1037/hea0000381

Gayes, L. A., & Steele, R. G. (2015). Comparison of two measures of weight criticism in youth: associations with physical activity engagement and attitudes, weight status, and health-related quality of life. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 40, 228-237. DOI:10.1093/jpepsy/jsu080

Van Allen, J. M., Borner, K. B., Gayes, L. A., & Steele, R. G. (2015). Weighing physical activity: The impact of a family-based group lifestyle intervention for pediatric obesity on participantsΓÇÖ physical activity . Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 40(2), 193-202. DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu077

Gayes, L. A., & Steele, R. G. (2014). A meta-analysis of motivational interviewing interventions for pediatric health behavior change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(3), 521-535. DOI:10.1037/a0035917

Steele, R. G., Jensen, C. D., Gayes, L. & Liebold, H. (2014). Medium is the message: Moderate parental control of feeding correlates with improved weight outcome in a pediatric obesity intervention . Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39(7), 708-717. DOI:10.1093/jpepsy/jsu035.

Janicke, D. M., Steele, R. G., Gayes, L. A., Lim, C. S., Clifford, L. M., Schnieder, E. M., Carmody, J. K., & Westen, S. C. (2014). Systematic review and meta-analysis of comprehensive behavioral family lifestyle interventions addressing pediatric obesity. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39(8), 809-825. DOI:10.1093/jpepsy/jsu023

Steele, R. G., Borner, K. B., & Roberts, M. C. (2014). Finding the Middle Bowl: GoldilocksΓÇÖ Lessons on Professional Competencies in Pediatric Psychology . Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39(9), 988-997. DOI:10.1093/jpepsy/jsu054

Steele, R. G., Wu, Y. P., Cushing, C. C., & Jensen, C. D. (2013). Child Health Matters: Evaluation of a web-based tutorial to enhance school nursesΓÇÖ communications with families about weight-related health. Journal of School Nursing, 29(2), 151-160. DOI:10.1177/1059840512446070

Steele, R. G., Aylward, B. S., Jensen, C. D., Cushing, C. C., Davis, A. M., & Bovaird, J. A. (2012). 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, 37(1), 53-63. DOI:10.1093/jpepsy/JSR057

Jelalian, E. & Steele, R. G. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of childhood and adolescent obesity (E. Jelalian & R. G. Steele, Eds.). New York: Springer.

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

Selected Grants

Steele, R. G., (Principal), Davis, A. M., Savage, C., Impulsivity and Neural Mechanisms Predicting Treatment Outcome in Childhood Obesity, 5UL1 TR000001-04, National Institutes of Health, (03/01/2014 - 02/28/2015) . Federal. Status: Funded.

Upcoming Special Events
Clinical Program 70th Year Reunion -
       June 21-22, 2019