Gilbert Parra

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Gilbert Parra

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia
M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia
B.A., Psychology, New Mexico State University

I received my B.A. in Psychology from New Mexico State University and my M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I completed a clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, PA. I have held faculty positions at the University of Memphis and the University of Southern Mississippi and was a Research Scientist at Boys Town in Omaha, NE. I’m currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I conduct basic science and applied research on contextual factors that place children and adolescents at risk for the development of psychosocial difficulties. More specifically, my work investigates (a) the interrelations among risk factors for youth emotional and behavioral problems, (b) the efficacy of interventions that target contextual risk factors, and (c) family-related emotional processes with an emphasis on relationship repair. I recently served as an Associate Editor for School Psychology Quarterly (SPQ).

Dr. Parra currently supervises student research in the following program areas:


Representative Publications

  • Choi, E., Parra, G. R., & Jiang, Q. (2019). Bidirectional relations between unmarried parents’ cooperative coparenting and their children’s behavioral problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 33, 203-214.
  • Parra, G. R., Smith, G., Mason, W. A., Savolaninen, J., Chmelka, M. B., Miettunen, J., Järvelin, M., Moilanen, I., & Veijola, J. (2018). Profiles of prenatal contextual risk and adolescent substance use. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 717–724.
  • Parra, G. R., Smith, G., Mason, W. A., Savolaninen, J., Chmelka, M. B., Miettunen, J., & Järvelin, M. (2017). Tests of linear and nonlinear relations between cumulative contextual risk at birth and psychosocial problems during adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 60, 64-73.
  • Howard Sharp, K. M., Cohen, R., Kitzmann, K. M., & Parra, G. R. (2016). Mechanisms mediating children’s perceived maternal nonsupportive reactions to sadness and children’s social and emotional functioning. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 367-380.
  • Mason, W. A., Fleming, C. B., Gross, T. J., Thompson, R. W., Parra, G. R., Haggerty, K. P., & Snyder, J. J. (2016). Randomized trial of parent training to prevent adolescent problem behaviors during the transition to high school. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 944-954.
  • Mason, W. A., January, S. A., Chmelka, M. B., Parra, G. R., Savolainen, J., Miettunen, J., Marjo-Riitta Järvelin, M., Taanila, A., & Moilanen, I. (2016). Cumulative contextual risk at birth in relation to adolescent substance misuse, conduct problems, and risky sex: General and specific predictive associations in a Finnish Birth Cohort. Addictive Behaviors, 58, 161-166.
  • Mason, W. A., January, S. A., Fleming, C. B., Thompson, R. W., Parra, G. R., Haggerty, K. P., & Snyder, J. J. (2016). Parent training to reduce problem behaviors over the transition to high school: Indirect effects through improved emotion regulation skills. Children and Youth Services Review, 61, 176-183.
  • Parra, G. R., Ross, J. R., Ringle, J. L., Samson, N., & Thompson, R. W. (2016). An evaluation of Boys Town In-Home Family Services with families referred by Child Welfare. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 13, 401-411.
  • Buckholdt, K. E., Parra, G. R., Anestis, M. D., Lavender, J. M., Jobe-Shields, L., Tull, M. T., & Gratz, K. L. (2015). Emotion regulation difficulties and maladaptive behaviors: Examination of deliberate self-harm, disordered eating, and substance misuse in two samples. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39, 140-152.
  • Jobe-Shields, L., Andrews, A. R., Parra, G. R., & Williams, N. A. (2015). Person-centered approaches to understanding early family risk. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 7, 432-451.
  • Lewis, J. T., Parra, G. R., & Cohen, R. (2015). Apologies in close relationships: A review of theory and research. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 7, 47-61.

  • Recent Grants

  • 2019 – 2024 Evaluator. (PI, Choi). Nebraska Sustainable Community Project–Youth Civic Engagement. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Grant: $640,000.
  • 2019 – 2021 Co-PI. (PI, Hatton-Bowers). A Resource Toolkit to Support the Wellness Of Extension Employees Following A Natural Disaster. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grant Program: $137,618.
  • 2018 – 2019 Co-I. (Co-PIs, Neuhaus, Zhang, & Reisbig). E-Healthcare Solutions in the Treatment of Trauma using EMDR. Fearless Grant, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska: $22,756.
  • 2018 – 2019 Co-PI. (PI, Hatton-Bowers). Promoting the Well-Being of Early Childhood Educators with Nebraska Extension’s Cultivating Healthy Intentional Mindful Educators (CHIME) Program. University of Nebraska Extension Innovation Grant: $10,000
  • 2017 – 2018 Co-PI. (PI, Werum). Determinants of Success among Veteran Students Attending Academic Alliances/B1G (Big Ten) Institutions. United States Military Academy at West Point, Institute for Innovation and Development: Faculty Research Fund: $2,200.
  • 2014 – 2017 Co-I (8/1/14 – 8/31/15); Consultant (8/1/15 – 7/31/17). (PI, Mason). Role of Childhood Cumulative Risk in Substance Misuse and Co-Occurring Problems. National Institute on Drug Abuse: $743,669.