College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Abigail Gewirtz

Pronouns: she, her, hers


PDF icon Curriculum Vitae

PDF icon Advising Statement


Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Columbia University
M.A., Vocational Counseling Psychology, Tel Aviv University
B.S., Psychology, University College London

Areas of Interest

Families and parenting
Prevention and intervention
Stress and maltreatment

I am not accepting advisees for fall 2022.

Research & Discovery

My primary interests are in trauma, resilience, and promoting children’s healthy development by strengthening parenting, with two distinct but interrelated research foci:

• The impact of exposure to highly stressful and traumatic events (e.g. homelessness, violence, war) on parenting and child functioning.

• The development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based, family- focused interventions in community settings.

My research team is currently working on two sets of projects: ADAPT and the Ambit Network. ADAPT – After Deployment Adaptive Parenting Tools, is a series of studies to develop, test, and widely implement a multi-format parenting program among military families. Our work is accomplished in collaboration with multiple partners across the state and the nation, including military partners (e.g. National Guard, Reserves), MN’s Department of Human Services (Children’s Mental Health and Child Welfare Divisions), NAMI-MN, and mental health clinics. Our research projects have included diverse populations of families exposed to adversity and traumatic stress. 

Recent News

"Schools grappling with threats of violence in the wake of Michigan high school shooting," KSTP-TV

"Is your child anxious about going to school during a pandemic? Here's how to talk about it" MPR News

"How to talk to your children about Derek Chauvin Trial in George Floyd's death," ABC News

"Interview with mental health expert Abigail Gewirtz," KARE-11

"It was children who bore witness to George Floyd's murder and testified in court,"

"Doctor explains how to help kids with trauma during Chauvin Trial," KARE-11

"Is my kid a hypochondriac?" New York Times

"How to talk to your kids about the news," WCCO-TV

"Our Favorite Parenting Books of 2020," Greater Good magazine

"How to talk to your children about big changes this holiday," WCCO-TV

"How to help your children underdstand big changes during a pandemic," KARE-11

"How psychologists deal with their own children's anxiety,"

Dealing with your kids’ emotional behavior by age group,” Very Well Family

How to talk to children about our scary world,” London Jewish Chronicle

"Distance learning can be tough on teens," WCCO-TV

"How to talk to children about our scary world," Jewish Chronicle, London

"What Has COVID Meant for Children's Mental Health," The Takeaway, WNYC (NPR)

"Making Kids Feel Safe When the World Feels Scary," Metro Parent for Southeast Michigan

"Parents seek strategies to help kids cope with pandemic, racial injustice," Star Tribune

"The 'Wellness for Kids' Movement has gained new importance during the Pandemic," Well and Good

"U of M doc has advice for helping kids cope with turbulent images, times," KTOE-AM 

"Esssential conversations for anxious parents and worried kids," PHL17

"How to Shush Your Kids So They Stay Shushed," Fatherly

"Loss, Grief, Stress: How the pandemic is affecting kids," NPR Weekend Edition Sunday

"How the Coronavirus is influencing children's play," The Atlantic

"4 ways to help your anxious kid," The New York Times

"How to talk to your kids about coronavirus," The New York Tmes

Mom Enough: Teaching children civility in an uncivil world

Honors & Awards

2019 - Fellow, American Psychological Association
2019 - Fellow, Association for Psychological Science
2018 - Society for Prevention Research Translational Science Award
2013 - Safe Start Center: Women Making an Impact on Children’s Exposure to Violence
2012 - Faculty Summer Research Award, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
2011 - Professional of the Year, National Alliance for Mental Illness – MN Chapter
2009 - Rising Star Award, Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle, University of Minnesota
2008 - New Career Excellence Award, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
2000 - Fellow, American Psychoanalytic Association

Select Publications and Presentations

See CV for complete list


  1. Zhang, N., Hoch, J., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2020). The Physiological Regulation of Emotion During Social Interactions: Vagal Flexibility Moderates the Effects of a Military Parenting Intervention on Father Involvement in a Randomized Trial. Prevention Science, 1-11. DOI: 10.1007/s11121-020-01122-6

    Hoffman, S. J., Vukovich, M. M., Gewirtz, A. H., Fulkerson, J. A., Robertson, C. L., & Gaugler, J. E. (2020). Mechanisms Explaining the Relationship Between Maternal Torture Exposure and Youth Adjustment In Resettled Refugees: A Pilot Examination of Generational Trauma Through Moderated Mediation. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 1-8. DOI: 10.1007/s10903-020-01052-z

    Zhang, J*., Palmer, A*., Zhang, N*., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2020). Coercive Parenting Mediates the Relationship between Military Fathers’ Emotion Regulation and Children’s Adjustment. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 48, 633-645. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-020-00635-6

    Zhang, N*., Lee, S.-K., Zhang, J*., Piehler, T., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2020). Growth trajectories of parental emotion socialization and child adjustment following a military parenting intervention: A randomized controlled trial. Developmental Psychology, 56(3), 652-663. DOI: 10.1037/dev0000837

  2. Gewirtz, A. H., Lee, S. S., August, G. J., & He, Y. (2019). Does giving parents their choice of interventions for child behavior problems improve child outcomes?. Prevention Science, 20(1), 78-88. DOI: 10.1007/s11121-018-0865-x

    Zamir, O., Gewirtz, A. H., Cheng, C. H*., Zhang, N*., & Lavee, Y. (2019). Psychological Distress and Communication Quality in Military Couples after Deployment to War. Journal of Family Psychology, advanced online publication. DOI: 10.1037/fam0000589

    Zhang, J*., Lee, S. K., Piehler, T. F., Gewirtz, A. H., & August, G. J. (2019). Bidirectional Relations between Parenting Practices and Child Externalizing Behaviors in Formerly Homeless Families: A Random-Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Analysis. Parenting, Science & Practice, 1-23. DOI: 10.1080/15295192.2019.1694833

    Gewirtz, A.H., Snyder, J., Zamir, O*., Zhang, J*., & Zhang, N*. (2019). Effects of the After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT) Intervention on Fathers and their Children: A moderated Mediation Model. Development and Psychopathology, 31(5), 1837-1849. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579419001238

    Zhang, N.*, Piehler, T., Gewirtz, A. H., Zamir, O*., & Snyder, J. (2019). Trait Mindfulness and Anger in the Family: A Dyadic Analysis of Male Service Members and their Female Partners. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 46(1), 15-29. DOI: 10.111/jmft.12384

    August, G. J., & Gewirtz, A.H. (2019). Moving Toward a Precision-Based, Personalized Framework for Prevention Science: Introduction to the Special Issue. Prevention Science, 20(1), 1-9. DOI: 10.1007/s11121-018-0955-9

    Sigmarsdóttir, M., Forgatch, M. S., Guðmundsdóttir, E. V., Thorlacius, Ö., Scendesen, G. T., Tjaden, J., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2019). Implementing an Evidence-Based Intervention for Children in Europe: Evaluating the Full-Transfer Approach. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 48(S1), S312-S325. DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2018.1466305

  3. Zhang, N*., Zhang, J*., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2019). Do less mindful mothers show better parenting via improvements in trait mindfulness following a military parent training program? Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 909. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.0090

    Chesmore, A.*, He, Y., Zhang, N.*, Gewirtz, A. H. (2018). Parent discrepancies in ratings of child behaviors following wartime deployment. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31, 79-88. DOI: 10.1002/jts.22257

    Chesmore, A.*, Piehler, T., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2018). PTSD as a moderator of a parenting intervention for military families. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(1), 123-133. DOI: 10.1037/fam0000366

    DeGarmo, D. S., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2018). A Recovery Capital and Stress-Buffering Model for Post-Deployed Military Parents. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1832. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01832

    Gewirtz, A. H. (2018). A call for theoretically informed and empirically validated military family interventions. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10(3), 587-601. DOI: 10.1111/jftr.12278

    Gewirtz, A. H., DeGarmo, D., & Zamir, O. (2018a). After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools: One year outcomes of a parenting program for military families. Prevention Science. 19, 589-599. DOI: 10.1007/s11121-017-0839-4