Robert López Jr.

Robert López Jr.

Robert 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 under mentorship of Dr. Christianne Esposito-Smythers. Robert is also completing his predoctoral internship at the University of California, Davis Children's Hospital, Trauma-Adolescent Mental Illness Track. 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., Maultsby, K., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., Wolff, J., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2022). A prospective investigation of the relation between dysfunctional family communication and suicidal ideation severity in a clinical adolescent sample: A serial mediation model. Journal of Affective Disorders, 310, 241-248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2022.05.021

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. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 77(12), 2978-2993. 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

Whitmyre, E. D., Esposito-Smythers, C., Goldberg, D. G., Scalzo, G., Defayette, A. B., & López Jr., R. (2022). Implementation of an electronic safety plan within a measurement feedback system. Advance online publication. Evidence-Based Practice in Child & Adolescent Mental Health.https://doi.org/10.1080/23794925.2022.2081946

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. (2022). Suicide and suicide attempts during adolescence. In G. Asmundson (Ed.), Comprehensive clinical psychology (2nd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 376-394). 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. Journal of Early Adolescence, 41(8), 1151-1176. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431620983453

Grants and Fellowships

George Mason University College of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean's Challenge Award (2022)

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

Lopez Jr., R., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2022, November 17-20). Relations between discrimination, rejection sensitivity, and decrements in problem-solving ability following social rejection: An experimental investigation [Poster presentation]. 2022 ABCT Suicide and Self-Injury Special Interest Group Exposition.

López Jr., R., Seibel, L., Maultsby, K., Wolff, J., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers. (2022, June 3). The protective role of positive recognition in the relation between NSSI versatility and suicidal ideation [Symposium]. In Hamilton, J. (Chair), Strengths-based approaches in youth suicide research. YSRC Third National Virtual Conference.

López Jr., R., Maultsby, K., Defayette, A. B., Whitmyre, E. D., Wolff, J., Spirito, A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2021, November 18–21). A prospective investigation of the relation between dysfunctional family communication and suicidal ideation severity in a clinical adolescent sample: A serial mediation model [Poster presentation]. 2021 ABCT Suicide and Self-Injury Special Interest Group Exposition.

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., 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]. APS 2021 Virtual Convention.