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Chad Shenk
Chad E. Shenk
Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Professor of Pediatrics (joint appointment)
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
  • Research
  • Child Development
  • Adolescent Development
  • Intervention and Prevention
  • Graduate Program
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  • 2010—NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Child Maltreatment, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center;
  • 2007—Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Arts, Clinical Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno;
  • 2007—Pre-Doctoral Clinical Internship, University of Rochester Medical Center;
  • 1998—Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University
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Currently Accepting Graduate Students
Office Address
230 Health and Human Development Building
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Professional Credentials



Early life adversity; risk for adverse health following exposure to pediatric trauma; contamination bias in causal estimation; mechanisms involved in the onset and course of psychiatric disorders across multiple levels of analysis (e.g. biology, behavior, environment); mechanisms of action and active treatment components for behavioral interventions .

Professional Experience

2023-present Professor, The Pennsylvania State University
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Department of Pediatrics (Joint)

2017-2023 Associate Professor, The Pennsylvania State University
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Department of Pediatrics (Joint)

2013-2017 Assistant Professor, The Pennsylvania State University
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Department of Pediatrics (Joint)

2010-2013 Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (Joint)

Grants and Research Projects

Please visit the Shenk Lab webpage for current grants and projects, and to learn how to get involved in the work we're doing to promote child health and development.


Selected Publications

(* = Student or Postdoctoral Fellow Authorship) 

  • Rubens, M., Bruenig, D., Adams, J. A. M., Suresh, S. M., Sathyanarayanan, A., Haslam, D., Shenk, C. E., Mathews, B., & Mehta, D. (2023). Childhood Maltreatment and DNA Methylation: A Systematic Review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 147, 105079. 
  • Zhang, Z.Z.*, Moeckel, C.*, Mustafa, M.*, Pham, H., Olson, A.E.*, Mehta, D., Dorn, L.D., Engeland, C.G., & Shenk, C.E. (2023). The association of epigenetic age acceleration and depressive and anxiety symptom severity among children recently exposed to substantiated maltreatment. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 165, 7-13. 
  • Shenk, C.E., Allen, B., Dreschel, N.A., Wang, M., Felt, J.M.*, Brown, M.P., Bucher, A.M., Chen, M.J., & Olson, A.E.* (2022). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia change during Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Results from a randomized controlled feasibility trial. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 50, 1487-1499. 
  • Shenk, C.E., Felt, J.M.*, Ram, N., O’Donnell, K.J., Sliwinski, M.J., Pokhvisneva, I., Benson, L., Meaney, M.J., Putnam, F.W., Noll, J.G. (2022). Cortisol trajectories measured prospectively across thirty years of female development following exposure to childhood sexual abuse: Moderation by epigenetic age acceleration at midlife. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 136.  
  • Shenk, C.E., Rausch, J.R., Shores, K.A., Allen, E.K.,* & Olson, A.E.* (2022). Controlling contamination in child maltreatment research: Impact on effect size estimates for child behavior problems measured throughout childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 34, 1287-1299.  
  • Shenk, C.E., O’Donnell, K.J., Pokhvisneva, I., Kobor, M.S., Meaney, M.J., Bensman, H.E., Allen, E.K.*, & Olson, A.E.* (2022). Epigenetic age acceleration and risk for posttraumatic stress disorder following exposure to substantiated child maltreatment. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 51, 651-661.  
  • Shenk, C.E., Keeshin, B., Bensman, H.E., Olson, A.E.*, & Allen, B. (2021). Behavioral and pharmacological interventions for the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders with children exposed to maltreatment. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 211.  
  • Noll, J.G., Haag, A.C., Shenk, C.E., Wright, M.F., Barnes, J.E., Koram, M., Malgaroli, M., Foley, D.J., Kouril, M., & Bonanno, G.A. (2021). An observational study of Internet behaviors for adolescent females following sexual abuse. Nature Human Behavior, 6, 74-87.  
  • Allen, E.K.*, Desir, M.*, & Shenk, C.E. (2021). Child maltreatment and adolescent externalizing behavior: Examining the indirect and cross-lagged pathways of prosocial peer activities. Child Abuse & Neglect, 111, 104796.  
  • Allen, B., Shenk, C.E., Dreschel, N.E., Wang, M., Bucher, A.M., Desir, M.P., Chen, M.J., & Grabowski, S.R. (2021). Integrating animal-assisted therapy into TF-CBT for abused youth with PTSD: A randomized controlled feasibility trial. Child Maltreatment, 27, 466-477.  
  • Olson, A.E.*, Shenk, C.E., Noll, J.G., & Allen, B. (2021). Child maltreatment and substance use in emerging adulthood: Internalizing and externalizing behaviors at the transition to adolescence as indirect pathways. Child Maltreatment, 27, 490-500.