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 the interpersonal determinants of suicide, particularly in at-risk populations (e.g., adolescents, LGBTQ+ individuals, etc.).

Selected Publications

*López Jr., R., *Gonçalves, S. F., Poon, A. J., Ansell, E. B., Esposito-Smythers, C., & Chaplin, T. M. (In Press). Sexual identity and its association with trajectories of depressive symptoms and emotion regulation difficulties from early to middle adolescence. Child Psychiatry & Human Development.

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

López Jr., R., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., Williams, C. A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (In Press). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters, suicidal ideation, and social support in a clinical adolescent sample. Death Studies.

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.

*= joint first author

Grants and Fellowships

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)


M.A. - George Mason University (2019)

Clinical Psychology

B.A. - Harvard University (2014)

Psychology (cum laude) & Minor in History of Science

Recent Presentations

Select Presentations

López Jr., R., Maultsby, K., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2021, June). 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]. 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). A multimethod investigation of the relation between minority stress and suicide risk among sexual minority youth [Poster]. 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 54th Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA.

López Jr., R., Follet, L., Whitmyre, E. D., Defayette, A. B., Wolff, J., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2020, June). Depression-related emotional problems mediate the association between hopelessness and suicidal ideation severity [Poster]. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 4th Future Directions Forum, Washington, D.C.

López Jr., R., Williams, C. A., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., Franks, H., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2019, May). Concurrent relationships between childhood maltreatment, suicidality, and social problem-solving abilities in a clinical adolescent sample [Poster]. Association for Psychological Science 31st Annual Convention, Washington, D.C.