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Jody S Nicholson

Associate Professor

Psychology | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Psychology, Developmental Psychology


Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Pediatric Psychology

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

July 2012


Ph.D. Developmental Psychology

University of Notre Dame

August 2006


M.A. Developmental Psychology

University of Notre Dame

August 2009


B.S. Human Development and Family Sciences

University of Texas at Austin

May 2003


I am a preventionist with my research being at the intersection of health and developmental psychology. I aim to contribute to our understanding of barriers and bridges for parents’ abilities to optimize their children’s physical health. Models of health behavior change strongly influence my work, but do not properly account for how parents have more challenge in creating health behavior change for their children. Currently, popular models focus on individuals’ approach to creating change for their personal health, and do not include mechanisms for how parents could influence the health of another individual (i.e., their children). I hope to contribute to my field by filling this gap, and focus my applied work on studies that could provide more insight to a theoretical model of health behavior change specific to parents. To develop and test these models, I have chosen two areas which provide different types of threat, awareness, and understanding, but equally influence children’s health and impact all developmental domains (e.g., cognitive and psychosocial functioning): exposure to environmental neurotoxins and nutrition and physical activity. I focus my work in early childhood and am drawn to how families in poverty may have different challenges and risk in creating health behavior change for their children. My research is community-based, and I aspire to community-based research to improve the ecological validity of my work.


• University of North Florida, Engaged Scholar, Spring, 2015 
• University of North Florida, Faculty Development Scholarship Grant, Summer, 2014
• University of North Florida, Environmental Seed Grant, Spring, 2013
Vistakon: Johnson & Johnson Charitable Contribution Grant, 2012-2013
• University of North Florida Community Scholar, Fall, 2012
• Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Fellow: American Psychological Foundation, 2008-2009
• The New York Community Trust’s Fahs-Beck Fund for Research, 2008-2009
• University of Notre Dame, Ganey Community-Based Research Grant, 2006, 2008
• Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional Research Award, NIH Predoctoral Training Grant, 2006-2008
• Lead Safe Indiana Award, 2007
• National Community-Based Research Networking Initiative Travel Award, Fall 2007
• University of Notre Dame, Wakonse Teaching Fellow, Spring 2005


Publications & Presentations

Nicholson, J.S., & Cleeton, M. (2015). Sensitivity and specificity of pediatric lead screener questions for detecting lower levels of lead exposure and environmental risk. Clinical Pediatrics, (ahead-of-print), 1-8. doi. 10.1177/0009922815584944.


Deboeck, P., Nicholson, J.S., Kouros, C. D., Little, T. (2015). Interfacing theory and methodology: Using derivatives to articulate change theories, models, and inferences. Applied Development Science, (ahead-of-print), 1-15.


Nicholson, J.S., McDermott, M., Huang, Q., Zhang, H., & Tyc, V.L. (2014). Full and home smoking ban adoption after a randomized controlled trial targeting secondhand smoke exposure reduction. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 1-5. doi. 10.1093/ntr/ntu201


Weed, K., Nicholson, J. S, & Farris, J. R. (2014). Teen pregnancy and parenting: Rethinking the myths and misperceptions. Taylor & Francis Group


Weed, K., & Nicholson, J.S. (2014). Differential social evaluation of pregnant teens, teen mothers, and teen fathers by university students. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 1–16. doi. 10.1080/02673843.2014.963630


Hum, A. M., Nicholson, J. S., McDermott, M., Klosky, J. L., & Tyc, V. L. (2014). Tobacco use and exposure among youth undergoing cancer treatment. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 29(1), 80-87 doi. 10.1016/j.pedhc.2014.07.004


McDermott, M.*, Nicholson, J. S., & Tyc, V.L. (2013). Accuracy and concordance in reporting secondhand smoke exposure among adolescents undergoing treatment for cancer and their parents. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, 2(3), 125-129. doi. 10.1089/jayao.2012.0026.


Deboeck, P. R., Nicholson, J. S., Bergeman, C. S., & Preacher, K. J. (2013). From modeling long–term growth to short–term fluctuations: Differential equation modeling is the language of change. In R.E Millsap, L.A. van der Ark, D.M. Bolt, & C.M. Woods (Eds.) New Developments in Quantitative Psychology, New York: Springer, 427-448.


Tyc, V. L., Huang, Q., Nicholson, J. S., Hovell, M. F., Lensing, S., …Schultz, B. (2013). Intervention to reduce secondhand smoke among children with cancer: A controlled trial. Psycho-Oncology, 22, 1104-1111. doi. 10.1002/pon.3117


Nicholson, J. S., Tyc, V. L, & Lensing, S. (2012). Parental psychosocial predictors of secondhand smoke exposure for children with cancer. Journal of Child Health Care, 16(3), 211-223. doi. 10.1177/1367493511426422


Nicholson, J. S., Deboeck, P., Farris, J. R., Boker, S. M., & Borkowski, J. G. (2011). Maternal depressive symptomatology and child behavior: Transactional relationship with simultaneous bidirectional coupling. Developmental Psychology, 47(5), 1312-1323. doi: 10.1037/a0023912

Nicholson, J. S., Howard, K. S., & Borkowski, J. G. (2008). Paternal childhood experiences, role models, and metaparenting knowledge. Fathering, 6, 29 – 61.

Contact Information

(904) 620-2807