Roberto López Jr.

Roberto López Jr.

Roberto López Jr.

Graduate Research Assistant

Clinical Psychology: social factors; self-injurious thoughts and behaviors; youth; LGBTQ+

Robert is a doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at GMU under mentorship of Dr. Christianne Esposito-Smythers. In 2014, he received a bachelor of arts in Psychology and minor in History of Science from Harvard University. While at Harvard, Robert volunteered in the Nock Lab on studies that examined risk factors for suicide. After graduating, Robert became a case manager at Tropical Texas Behavioral Health, where he provided psychoeducation and crisis management services to low-income clients diagnosed with mood and/or schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. In 2015, he transitioned into a research assistant position on three, NIMH-funded studies investigating suicide risk in the Psychosocial Research Program at Butler Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His current research is focused on understanding mechanisms underlying suicide risk, particularly in high-risk populations (e.g., adolescents, LGBTQ+ individuals, etc.).

Current Research

The Pass & Play Project (P3)

Using a multi-method approach, the goal of this dissertation project is to understand the link between social interactions and mental health in young adults. Participants complete a single 2-hour virtual laboratory visit (via Zoom) and a 4-week smartphone survey period. Study results may inform treatment practices among high-risk groups. 

Selected Publications

López Jr., R., Follet, L., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E.D., Wolff, J., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2021). Depression-related emotional problems mediate the relation between hopelessness and suicidal ideation severity. Advance online publication. Journal of Clinical Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.23236

*López Jr., R., *Gonçalves, S. F., Poon, A. J., Ansell, E. B., Esposito-Smythers, C., & Chaplin, T. M. (2021). Sexual identity and its association with trajectories of depressive symptoms and emotion regulation difficulties from early to middle adolescence. Advance online publication. Child Psychiatry & Human Development. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-021-01188-5

López Jr., R., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., Williams, C. A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2020). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters, suicidal ideation, and social support in a clinical adolescent sample. Advance online publication. Death Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2020.1852629

López Jr., R., Brick, L. A., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E.D., Wolff, J., Frazier, E., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2020). Depressive symptom severity mediates the association between avoidant problem-solving style and suicidal ideation. Journal of Affective Disorders274, 662-670. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.05.120

*= joint first author

Expanded Publication List

Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., López Jr., R., Brown, B., Wolff, J. C., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2021). Adolescent depressed mood and difficulties with emotion regulation: Concurrent trajectories of change. Journal of Adolescence, 91, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2021.07.001

Esposito-Smythers. C., Whitmyre, E. D., Defayette, A. B., López Jr., R., Maultsby, K. D., & Spirito, A. (In Press). Suicide and suicide attempts during adolescence. In G. Asmundson (Ed.), Comprehensive clinical psychology, 2nd edition. Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-818697-8.00059-5

Gonçalves, S. F., Chaplin, T. M., López Jr., R., Regalario, I. M., McKnight, P. E., Stults-Kolehmainen, M., Sinha, R., & Ansel, E. B. (2020). High frequency heart rate variability and emotion-driven impulse control difficulties during adolescence: Examining experienced and expressed negative emotion as moderators. Advance online publication. Journal of Early Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431620983453

Grants and Fellowships

American Psychological Foundation & Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology: Peter and Malina James & Dr. Louis P. James Legacy Scholarship (2021)

George Mason University Summer Research Fellowship (2021)

Association for Psychological Science Student Grant Competition (2021)

American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Psychological Science Research Grant (Diversity) (2021)

Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology Diversity Travel Award (2021)

Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology Underrepresented Student Workshop Grant (2019, 2020, & 2021)

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program [Honorable Mention] (2019)

George Mason University Diversity Advancement Award (2019)

Courses Taught

Spring 2018

  • PSYC 300 - Statistics in Psychology (Labs 203 & 204)

Fall 2017

  • PSYC 300 - Statistics in Psychology (Labs 204 & 210)

Education

M.A. - George Mason University (2019)

Clinical Psychology

B.A. - Harvard University (2014)

Psychology (cum laude) & Minor in History of Science

Recent Presentations

López Jr., R., Maultsby, K., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., Wolff, J., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2021, October 24–27). A longitudinal, multi-informant study of the relation between family affective responsiveness, sexual identity, and suicidal ideation in an adolescent clinical sample [Poster presentation]. International Academy of Suicide Research/American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (IASR/AFSP) International Summit on Suicide Research.

López Jr., R., Maultsby, K., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2021, June 17–19). Past month engagement in non-suicidal self-injury predicts changes in suicidal ideation severity over 18 months following psychiatric hospitalization in a treatment-seeking adolescent sample [Poster presentation]. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (JCCAP) Virtual Future Directions Forum.

López Jr., R., Defayette, A. B., Maultsby, K., Whitmyre, E. D., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2021, May 26-27). A multimethod investigation of the relation between minority stress and suicide risk among sexual minority youth [Poster presentation]. Association for Psychological Science 2021 Virtual Convention.

López Jr., R., Gonçalves, S. F., Esposito-Smythers, C., & Chaplin, T. M. (2020, November). Associations between self-identified sexual orientation and trajectories of emotion dysregulation and depressive symptoms from early to middle adolescence. In RLópez Jr., & C. Esposito-Smythers (Co-Chairs), An examination of the psychological mediation framework and its relation to self-injurious thoughts and behaviors among LGBTQ individuals from early adolescence to adulthood [Symposium]. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 54th Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA.

López Jr., R., Brick, L. A., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E.D., Wolff, J., Frazier, E., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2020, November). Depressive symptom severity mediates the association between avoidant problem-solving style and suicidal ideation. In R. López Jr., & C. Esposito-Smythers (Chairs), The impact of social factors on the onset and maintenance of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors* [Symposium]. ABCT 54th Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA.

*Received sponsorship from the ABCT Suicide and Self-Injury Special Interest Group