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student in psychology studying a book

Dawn Witherspoon

Dawn Witherspoon headshot


Faculty Bio

Assistant Professor

Phone: (904) 620-1967

Office: Building 51, Room 3114



Research Interests

Clinical Psychology
Pediatric Psychology
Health Psychology
Child and Adolescent Development
Health Disparities
Eating Disorders



Areas of Expertise

I frequently teach: Psychology of Abnormal Behavior, Health Psychology, Child and Adolescent Development, Child and Adolescent Psychopathology.



Selected Publications

Wang, Y., Lynne, S. D., Witherspoon, D., & Black, M. M. (2020). Longitudinal
bidirectional relations between body dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms among Black adolescents: A cross-lagged panel analysis. Plos one, 15(1), e0228585.

Buckingham-Howes, S., Hager, E., Pejsa, M., Wang, Y., Witherspoon, D. & Black, M. (2018) Disordered Eating in Urban, African American, Adolescent Girls: The role of Weight Status and Body Image Satisfaction. Eating Behaviors, 29, 59-63.

Witherspoon, D., Latta, L., Wang, Y. & Black, M. (2013). Do depression, self-esteem, body esteem and eating attitudes vary by BMI? Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 38, 1112-1120.

Hager, E., Witherspoon D., Latta, L. Gormly, C., Pepper, R., & Black, M. (2013). The perceived and built environment surrounding urban schools and physical activity among adolescent girls. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45, S68-75.



Short Biography

As an African American female, I have a vested interest in the health of minority youth. To ensure that research informs clinical practice, I have developed a strong foundation of research skills through both independent and collaborative research projects. Many of my research experiences have involved pediatric interventions with minority populations in urban communities. I plan to use my varied experience to further my career as an educator and researcher in the field of clinical psychology. Future goals include continuing to evaluate the effects of an obesogenic environment on children and adolescents’ physical and mental health by conducting qualitative and quantitative studies in low SES neighborhoods. Graduate and undergraduate student research assistants can help facilitate my research goals while gaining valuable experience.




Post Doctoral Training


2009- 2012      Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

                        University of Maryland, School of Medicine

                        Department of Pediatrics, Division of Growth & Nutrition



2007-2008       Predoctoral Internship, Pediatric Psychology Track

                        Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH


2005 – 2009    Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

 Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Dissertation:    Prediction of Outcomes of an Eating Disorders Treatment Program Using

                         Structural Equation Modeling



2002-2004       M.A., Clinical Psychology

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Thesis:            Correlates of Adherence to Prophylactic Penicillin in Children with Sickle

Cell Disease


1994-1999       B.A., Psychology

 University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Honors Thesis: Parent Vocalizations and Infant Affect During Parent-Infant Play