Yao Zheng, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts - Psychology Dept


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts - Psychology Dept
(780) 492-0187
P-349 Bio Science - Psychology Wing
11355 - Saskatchewan Drive
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E9


Area of Study / Keywords

Developmental psychopathology adolescent development behavioral genetics developmental methodology prevention science


I am an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts’ Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta in the Developmental Science area. I was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University and University of Quebec at Montreal. I received my Ph.D. and M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies, as well as a M.A.S. in Applied Statistics, from the Pennsylvania State University. I received my B.S. in Psychology from Yuan Pei Honors College, Peking University.  


As a lifespan researcher taking a developmental psychopathology perspective, I conduct research on the influences of family and peer processes that shape different developmental trajectories of problem behaviors using innovative quantitative methodology at multiple levels of analysis (e.g., genetic, behavioral) and time scales (e.g., days, years) in various ecological contexts (e.g., school, neighborhood, culture). My research focuses on four interrelated themes: 1) family and peer processes that shape different developmental trajectories of problem behavior using mixture modeling; 2) genetic and environmental interplay in the development of problem behavior using quantitative genetic modeling; 3) intra-individual developmental processes at a micro level using intensive longitudinal data with time series analysis; and 4) evaluation of preventative interventions using dynamical system analysis and longitudinal growth curve modeling.


I am teaching PSYCHO 327 (Adolescent Development), PSYCHO 421/622 (Special Topics: Developmental Behavioral Genetics), and PSYCHO 631 (Special Topics: Introduction to Applied Mixture Modeling). I am also interested in developing new courses like PSYCHO 421/622(Special Topics: Introduction to Family Studies), PSYCHO 423/622 (Special Topics: Developmental Psychopathology), and PSYCHO 631 (Special Topics: Introduction to Multilevel Modeling). I also supervise students in individual research (PSYCHO 299), independent study (PSYCHO 396/398/496/498) and honors theses (PSYCHO 390/399/499).


I am currently NOT accepting any new undergraduate students for honors program or independent research.

I will potentially accept graduate students starting in Fall 2021 who are interested in the socioemotional and behavioral development in adolescence. 


PSYCO 523 - Developmental Methods: Application

Prerequisite: PSYCO 522 or permission of Instructor. [Faculty of Science]

Winter Term 2021

Browse more courses taught by Yao Zheng


Genetic and environmental influences on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in Chinese adolescents: A longitudinal twin study
Author(s): Zheng, Y., Pingault, J-B., Unger, J., & Rijsdijk, F.
Publication Date: 2/1/2020
Publication: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume: 29
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 205–216

Lability in parental warmth in childhood: Antecedents and early adolescent outcomes
Author(s): Zheng, Y., & McMahon, R. J.
Publication Date: 10/1/2019
Publication: Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology

Peer alcohol use differentially amplifies genetic and environment effects on different developmental trajectories of adolescent alcohol use
Author(s): Zheng, Y., Brendgen, M., Girard, A., Dionne, G., Boivin, M., & Vitaro, F.
Publication Date: 9/1/2019
Publication: Journal of Adolescent Health
Volume: 65
Issue: 6
Page Numbers: 752–759

Genetic and environmental influences on adolescent emotional inertia in daily life
Author(s): Zheng, Y., & Asbury, K.
Publication Date: 7/1/2019
Publication: Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume: 48
Issue: 9
Page Numbers: 1849–1860

Capturing parenting as a multidimensional and dynamic construct with a person-oriented approach
Author(s): Zheng, Y., Pasalich, D., *Oberth, C., McMahon, R., & Pinderhughes, E. E.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Prevention Science
Volume: 18
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 281–291

Developmental changes in genetic and environmental influences on Chinese child and adolescent anxiety and depression
Author(s): Zheng, Y., Rijsdijk, F., Pingault, J-B, McMahon, R., & Unger, J.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Psychological Medicine
Volume: 46
Issue: 9
Page Numbers: 1829–1838

Heritability of intraindividual mean and variability of positive and negative affect: Genetic analysis of daily affect ratings over a month
Author(s): Zheng, Y., Plomin, R., & von Stumm, S.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Psychological Science
Volume: 27
Issue: 12
Page Numbers: 1611–1619

An idiographic examination of day-to-day patterns of substance use craving, negative affect and tobacco use among young adults in recovery
Author(s): Zheng, Y., Wiebe, R. P., Cleveland, H. H., Molenaar P. C. M., & Harris, K. S.
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Multivariate Behavioral Research
Volume: 48
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 241–266

Identifying gender-specific developmental trajectories of nonviolent and violent delinquency from adolescence to young adulthood
Author(s): Zheng, Y., & Cleveland, H. H.
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Journal of Adolescence
Volume: 36
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 371–381