Irene Tung

Dr. Irene Tung

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Psychology

Assistant Professor






Clinical Psychology
APA-accredited Internship: UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital
Psychology & English



Developmental psychopathology; Prenatal stress; Early life stress; Resilience; Child and adolescent mental health; Emotional reactivity; Externalizing-spectrum behaviors; Early prevention

My research focuses on the impact of early stress exposure on the development of emotional reactivity and risky behaviors. I am particularly interested in two questions: [1] How do contextual life stressors during sensitive periods of development, such as during pregnancy and early childhood, shape the way individuals perceive and react to their social environments? and [2] What modifiable, protective factors in family and community settings help to promote stress resilience and interrupt developmental pathways of risk? The goal of this research is to inform strengths-based preventative efforts to interrupt the cycle of stress-related mental health inequities and support the development of psychological wellbeing for children and families living with chronic contextual stressors. In my current research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and American Psychological Foundation (APF), we are investigating the prenatal period as a unique window of opportunity for promoting daily stress resilience for parents and their children. We are working with racially diverse groups of pregnant women to understand how daily life stressors and sources of support impact stress physiology during pregnancy and children’s early emotional outcomes.

Promoting Early Resilience in Children's Mental Health (PERCH) Lab:




Tung, I., Keenan, K., & Hipwell, A. E. (2021). Adolescent mothers’ psychological wellbeing during pregnancy and infant emotional health. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. [Online First].

Tung, I., Krafty, R. T., Delcourt, M. L., Melhem, N., Jennings, J. R., Keenan, K., & Hipwell, A. E. (2021). Cardiac vagal control in response to acute stress during pregnancy: Associations with life stress and emotional support. Psychophysiology, 58(6), e13808.

Noroña-Zhou, A. N., & Tung, I. (2021). Developmental patterns of emotion regulation in toddlerhood: Examining predictors of emotion regulation patterns and long-term resilience. Infant Mental Health Journal, 42, 5-20. doi:10.1002/imhj.21877

Tung, I., Keenan, K., Stepp, S. D., & Hipwell, A. E. (2020). The moderating effects of traumatic stress on vulnerability to emotional distress during pregnancy. Development and Psychopathology, 32, 673-686. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000531 

Tung, I., Chung, T., Krafty, R. T., Keenan, K., & Hipwell, A. E. (2020). Alcohol use trajectories before and after pregnancy among adolescent and young adult mothers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44(8), 1675-1685. doi:10.1111/acer.14394

Tung, I., Christian-Brandt, A. S., Langley, A., & Waterman, J. M. (2020). Developmental outcomes of infants adopted from foster care: Predictive associations from perinatal and preplacement risk factors. Infancy, 25(1), 84-109. doi:10.1111/infa.12319

Tung, I., Noroña, A. N., & Lee, S. S. (2019). Childhood maltreatment affects adolescent sensitivity to parenting and close friendships in predicting growth in externalizing behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 1237–1253. doi: 10.1017/S0954579418000585.

Hipwell, A. E., Tung, I., Northrup, J. B., & Keenan, K.  (2019). Transgenerational associations between maternal childhood stress exposure and profiles of infant emotional reactivity. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 887-898. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000324  

Tung, I., Morgan, J. E., Noroña, A. N., & Lee, S. S. (2017). Prenatal programming of postnatal plasticity for externalizing behavior: Testing an integrated developmental model of genetic and temperamental sensitivity to the environment. Developmental Psychobiology, 59(8), 984–996. doi: 10.1002/dev.21549

Tung, I., Li, J. J., Meza, J. I., Jezior, K. L ., Kianmahd, J. S. V., Hentschel, P. G., O’Neil, P. M., & Lee, S. S. (2016). Patterns of comorbidity among girls with ADHD: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 138(4), e20160430. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-0430



PSY 551: Child and Adolescent Treatment: Theories and Practice
PSY 586: Addictions Counseling 
PSY 573: Crisis and Trauma: Theories and Interventions